Rugby Union: Centre right on target
Richmond 40 London Scottish 22
Sunday 24 January 1999
If it seems odd for these two tenants of the Athletic Ground in Richmond to decamp to Reading for the day, only to play in front of fewer than 3,500 spectators, then how about the prospect of Wales kicking off their Five Nations' Championship in Scotland in a fortnight without Bateman?
Mark Taylor is the incumbent at outside centre, Bateman having missed the autumn internationals against South Africa and Argentina through injury. It is to make such tricky decisions as whether to change a winning side that the Wales coach Graham Henry is earning his not inconsiderable corn. Surely the sheer instinctiveness with which Bateman sparkled yesterday is too valuable to leave on the bench.
The relative paucity of the attendance, the lowest so far for a Premiership match at the Madejski Stadium, presumably meant Richmond's following is nearing the hard core. The faithful would have recognised all the frailty which threatened for a while to undermine their obvious superiority over a one-dimensional Scottish.
For their part, the Exiles players were brought up to date with the state of play off the field by the London Scottish president Ken Scobie. There is clearly little love lost between Scobie and Tony Tiarks, the 38 per cent shareholder who has courted interest from Bristol recently.
Tiarks told Scobie shortly before kick-off that some paper-work had been drafted, but the latter insisted this was "an insurance policy rather than a deal". Scobie also reiterated that nothing which affected matters on the pitch would happen before the end of the season.
Richmond's priority is to heave themselves further up the table. The fine example set by their workaholic captain Ben Clarke was occasionally dented by spilt passes. On one such occasion Nick Walne cut in beautifully from the wing only to lose the ball in the tackle when he looked certain to add to his try after only 70 seconds.
The unerring boot of the Exiles' South African outside-half Jannie de Beer was beginning to sow seeds of doubt in Richmond, after three penalties and a dropped goal.
Cue Bateman, who right on half-time ghosted onto the shoulder of Earl Va'a for a try.
Even better was the one 15 minutes into the second half. Craig Gillies won a line-out, Craig Quinnell frightened the life out of Scottish at the second phase and Richmond went left where a deft chip by Va'a was followed up by Bateman.
Scottish's tackles lost their vigour and Richmond ploughed through for tries by Quinnell, Adam Vander and Robbie Hutton to sew it up.
Richmond: M Pini; N Walne, A Bateman, M Deane, S Brown; E Va'a (L Best, 74), A Pichot; D McFarlane, B Williams, J Davies (D Crompton, 67), C Quinnell (B Cusack, 73), C Gillies, R Hutton, A Vander, B Clarke (capt, L Cabannes, 67).
London Scottish: I McAusland; K Milligan, D Lee, R Eriksson (R Davies, 80), C Sharman; J de Beer (S Forrest, 80), G Easterby; P Johnstone (M McDonald, 71), D Rudham (D Cummins, 48), P Burnell, E Jones, M Watson (M McAtamney, 75), S Fenn, S Holmes (capt), R Hunter.
Referee: S Lander (Liverpool).
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Mutual contempt burns as rivals Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho face off again
Wayne Rooney is Premier League's richest footballer with £72million worth but Lewis Hamilton leads the Sunday Times Rich List
Memphis Depay to Manchester United: Louis van Gaal faces difficult task as Liverpool hold 'secret' meeting with transfer target
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Liverpool transfer news: Brendan Rodgers reveals transfer plans to sign a new striker to put Daniel Sturridge's future into doubt
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...