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).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links