NEWBURY MAY have arrived in a coach bearing the legend Chiltern Queens on its side, but there was no soft centre to the Jewson National League One side. Their forwards, particularly in the first half, put up a more than creditable show and repeatedly had the Premiership One Richmond reeling on the back foot deep in their own half.
It was not until after the interval of the Tetley's Bitter Cup tie that Richmond's forwards, began to create a more solid platform for their hungry backs to feed off. If Newbury had only had a little more confidence. The problem was that despite possessing plenty of bravehearts, notably the fullback Tom Holloway, they had no one who was able to supply the coup de grace when they were perfectly positioned to strike.
Richmond on the other hand had Spencer Brown, who started the match on the left wing. Brown is a quality threequarter. He put in one stupendous tackle on Tyrone Howe when the Newbury right wing threatened early in the second half and innumerable other big hits.
His finishing was exemplary as well. Brown began the Richmond scoring with a try in the ninth minute and wrapped it all up in the 80th with the try that completed his hat-trick. The last two tries came after he had switched to fullback and his pace and power increased Richmond's attacking options, especially since the man who replaced him on the wing was Dominic Chapman, who scored one of Richmond's eight tries.
In between there was plenty of sloppy play by Richmond and some nervy mistakes on the part of Newbury. But at no point did the first division side look like running away with it. There is little doubt, though, that the like of the Newbury blindside flanker Craig Davies was able to rattle his more illustrious opponents whenever he could (which was often).
And behind him, and often at his shoulder to carry on the move, was the adventurous Holloway, nicknamed the Terrier, who was always prepared to have a go and was rewarded with one of his side's two tries. If Newbury had had the confidence to use their territorial advantage in the first half, it might have been a different story, but by the same token if the Richmond fly-half Earl Va'a had not missed five conversions and a penalty, then his side would have been out of sight.
Richmond: Tries Brown 3, Vander, Pichot, Walne, Bateman, Chapman; Conversions Va'a 3.
Newbury: Tries Gully, Holloway; Conversion Poihipi.
Richmond: M Pini (D Chapman, 57); N Walne, A Bateman, M Deane, S Brown; E Va'a, A Pichot (A Moore, 57); D McFarland, A Cuthbert, J Davies (M Fitzgerald, 57), C Quinnell, C Gillies, R Hutton, B Clarke (capt), A Vander (L Cabannes, 71).
Newbury: T Holloway; T Howe, R Blake, G Reayer, J Griffiths (T Osman, 67); J Poihipi, J Farr (B Wakfer, 60); S Brown (D Davis, 76), N Collins, R Kellam (capt; J Brammer, 67)), P Curtis, S Miall (T Anticic, 76), C Davies, G Powell (J Kingdon, 60), S Gully (C Hart, 60).
Referee: D Grashoff (E Midlands).