Richmond 15 Cornish Pirates 28

They say that all good things must come to an end but that will not be the case this coming Sunday at 3.00pm, when SKY TV cameras attend the Athletic ground and produce a live extravaganza of the London Scottish v Richmond match, writes Paul Kirby.

The injury hit Cornish Pirates’ put an end to frustrations of seven years of woe at Richmond’s famous old rugby ground. There in form hosts humbled them twice last season, and were looking to capitalise further on a top half of the table position that was not to be.

Richmond had just one change from last week’s victorious team at Hartpury, the unavailable Rob Kirby being replaced by Ali Chisholm, scorer of last season’s most memorable try. Jake Parker, at No 8, played for Pirates against his old team mates.

A bitterly fought encounter, with an audience of nearly a thousand, on a bitter afternoon in West London, was in the balance until the final quarter, when the Pirates finally managed to wrest control from the hosts. In fact it was not until the 76th minute when fly-half Will Cargill speedily broke down the flank before offloading to wing Alex O’Meara who touched down and ensured victory.

Cargill’s first of two penalties in the 7th minute. The lead was only a brief one however as the home side were finally granted their first real opportunity. Jono Woodward duly obliged in the left hand corner from Jordan Simpson-Hefft’s subtle offload, a manoeuvre that sadly came at a cost to Pirates full back Toby May.

His collision with Richmond’s flying winger forced his early withdrawal. His namesake Laurence filled the void. Chisholm with an amazing bonanza kick added the extras.

Being behind, didn’t seem to perturb the visitors, and their immediate pressure told as Richmond centre, Cameron Mitchell, was adjudged to have deliberately knocked on, leaving the man in the middle, Dean Richards, with little alternative but to bin the centre for ten for his wayward handwork.

Following the penalty and despite skipper Will Warden stealing the ensuing lineout, Pirates number 8, Tom Duncan went over for a try after a well worked Pirates catch and drive. Cargill added the conversion.

After 24 minutes their followed moments of mayhem when the game descended into a brawl with both Warden and Cargill yellow carded for foul play.

A man up, the Pirates only managed to negotiate three points in the remainder of the half, scored with the right boot of May, leaving the half time score finely balance at 7-13 to Pirates.

Richmond emerged for the second half resplendent in white with their gold hoops adjudged as too similar to the gold tops of the Cornish away strip. No doubt helped from this change of attire the hosts closed the gap back to three, with a Chisholm penalty.

The Pirates now worried about their Richmond hoodoo began to ramp matters up and Richmond did not help themselves by conceding eleven second-half penalties.

From one of these following a long line out throw, New Zealand prop Marlen Walker got the final touch as the visitors forwards drove over. Cargill added an important conversion.

Richmond responded immediately with substitute James Swan throwing a long pass to Woodward, who raced down the touchline to score his second try.

The score now 15-20 with just fifteen minutes to go could have gone either way but Pirates extended the lead to two scores with another Cargill penalty and in the 76th minutes, the Pirates finally closed the game with their third try. Time for the Christmas party and anticipation of another titanic contest with London Scottish next Sunday.

Steve Hill, Richmond FC Director of Rugby, commented; ‘Pirates fully deserved their win today. They were more aggressive at the breakdown than us and took their chances well.

"A combination of poor skill execution and indiscipline prevented us from building sustained pressure.

"We will need to play much better next Sunday against a rejuvenated London Scottish."

Pirates head coach Gavin Cattle said: “We knew our backs were against the wall, but adjusting for the wind in the second half, we took the space, went through the phases and our pace at the end was impressive.”

Richmond Tries: Woodward (2) Conversions: Chisholm Penalties: Chisholm Team: A.Chisholm, J.Woodward, C.Mitchell, R.McLean-Dents, J.Simpson-Hefft F.Gabbitass (J.Swann), L.Jones ( R.Admson), J.Cunnew(W.Goodrick-Clarke) R.Grimstone (J.Phipps), C.Trenier (J.Tarrant), W.Warden C.Davies, J.Liston (H.Edwards), T.Allcock (T.Saysell), J.Parker.