Rugby: Rich rewards for Richmond

34 Nottingham 0

To have and have not was duly played out here as Richmond, well- heeled and well-connected, became champions of the Second Division. Richmond, who had already secured promotion, defeated Nottingham, already destined for relegation, by five tries and three penalties to nil.

Nottingham arrived at the Athletic Ground to be greeted by the sight, in front of the main stand, of a poor pig being roasted on a spit. The spectacle of the once-proud Midland club being roasted alive was barely less gruesome.

The new-look Richmond is a polyglot squad drawn from, among others, Wales, Ireland, South Africa, Western Samoa and, of course, England. They collected the Second Division trophy from Tony Hallett, the secretary of the Rugby Football Union and a former Richmond player. At least Hallett was home- grown.

Yesterday Nottingham, who have a new director of rugby, the well-travelled Barrie Corless, showed a lot more resilience than the last time they met here in November when Richmond won 70-5. They were never going to beat Richmond but it was a heartening performance in damage limitation against a home side who were parading a myriad of star imports. One who was missing was their injured Lion, Scott Quinnell.

Nottingham spent virtually the entire first half bravely defending their line. It took Richmond 14 minutes to get any points on the board when Simon Mason kicked a penalty. It took them another six minutes to register their first try through the left-wing Spencer Brown.

Richmond, principally through Craig Quinnell and the athletic Steve Atherton, dominated possession, especially in the line-out but, on an overcast damp day, handling errors meant that they increasingly squandered scoring chances. But another try from Adrian Davies gave Richmond a modest lead of 13-0 at half-time.

Nottingham defended with such vigour that at one point early in the second half the hookers Charlie Claydon and Brian Moore exchanged blows and were spoken to by the referee.

Mason landed a couple of more penalties but generally his kicking was wretched. He failed to convert any of the tries, miskicking with embarrassing regularity.

It took a fine performance from Andy Moore, the former Cardiff and Cambridge University scrum-half, finally to exploit Richmond's domination by helping himself to two tries and Ben Clarke also crossed after bursting from a scrum close to the Nottingham line. It was enough but it was not one of Richmond's most glittering days.

In truth they were already celebrating before the kick-off, issuing an invitation which read: "One year later Richmond rocks on. On 7 May 1996 (the first day of the professional era) we promised new players and promotion. On 7 May 1997 we promise you even more exciting news. Join us at the Hard Rock Cafe for superb food and unlimited booze."

It may be the professional era but the game still enjoys the old, coarse joke. The invitation added: "Ambulances at 12.30am." The tickets cost pounds 40 each.

The architect of Richmond's rise is the Monaco-based millionaire Ashley Levett, who put pounds 2.5m into the club. "Everyone here is working to a five- year plan. By the time we reach that point we will be one of the most powerful sides in Europe," Levett claimed.

"I may be poking my neck out here but I think we will be close to breaking even the season after next. Our initial target was promotion which we have achieved and next year we'll be more than happy to finish in the top half of League One. Clearly, for us to sustain Premiership status we are going to have to spend money in the close season on new players. I don't see us doing that on an annual basis but we know the top flight will be fierce.

"Our plan does not involve going up and then languishing around the bottom of the league. There isn't a bottomless pit of money here and, if you like, we have to pay to play this season. When we took over we were a Third Division side and had to convince top-class players to commit themselves to our cause."

Richmond: S Mason; J Fallon, A Bateman, E Va'a, S Brown; A Davies, A Moore; J Foster, B Moore, D Crompton, C Quinnell, S Atherton, L Jones, B Clarke (capt), A Vander.

Nottingham: R Byrom; R Bygrave, J Hall, D Smith, M Holland; D Evans, A Royer (capt); M Freer, C Claydon, G Pearce, B McCarthy, R Sussum, G Bibby, I Gordon, J Brennan.

Referee: D Chapman (RFU).

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
News
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style