A fierce, physical battle, as you’d expect between these two oldest of rivals.
It was a game also where, for the most part, defences were firmly on top, but a contest that ultimately hinged on two moments around the hour-mark.
On 55 minutes, following a high tackle, Mark Cooke opted for the long-range attempt at goal that would draw Blackheath within three points, but the fly-half’s kick was pushed across the uprights and fell wide.
Then, as Blackheath were caught holding on, Richmond found touch on the Club ten-metre line and sent lineout ball across field. Leo Fielding’s earlier intercept had put the visitors on the front foot, but now as the right-wing broke ranks, it left the gap for Toby Saysell to storm through at pace, the blind-side off-loading to full-back Louis Molloy to sprint home from 30-metres.
Tom Hodgson added the conversion, and a fourth penalty a few minutes later, and with a potential score of 9-6 turned into 19-3, the game was over as a contest.
It was an immaculate kicking display from the Richmond fly-half who had put his side in the ascendancy with two early goals as the game started in bright winter sunshine.
For Blackheath, the set-piece functioned well, with a decisive edge at the scrum, and they gained good continuity in possession, but it made little territorial progress, even when Richmond were temporarily reduced to 14-men.
Instead, the Surrey side, who made greater inroads in the loose, won a further penalty for a deliberate knock-on, and Hodgson made it 9-0 at the break.
Cooke pulled three points back for the visitors after the re-start, and for a while Blackheath had the territorial advantage, until Richmond’s pace and clinical finishing took the game away.
Blackheath rallied in the final ten minutes, and a close-range lineout finally saw them open up the Richmond defence with a series of goal-line phases before Fielding sent Ben Ransom over out wide.
However, they couldn’t gain reward by prising a second opening, while Richmond march on in their bid to return to the Championship.
Next Saturday Blackheath host league-leaders Rosslyn Park in a huge match if the Club are to maintain their own hopes of promotion. Kick off at Well Hall is at 3 pm.
Pens: Hodgson 4
|12||.||Markus Burcham (Capt)|