Richmond throw away a 15-point lead at title chasers, but lay the blame at the referee's feet
3:23pm Monday 7th January 2013 in Sport
Richmond were left disappointed after conceding a 15-point lead at National League One title chasers Blaydon.
In the end, the visitors had to make the six-hour journey back to London nursing a 24-22 defeat and a dissatisfaction at squandering a winning position against a side who had won their last 10 league matches.
They were also frustrated at the referee who, with Richmond 22-7 ahead, appeared to turn on the visitors by awarding countless penalties against them at the breakdown - effectively allowing Blaydon back into the game.
Richmond director of rugby Steve Hill said: “I am both immensely proud and thoroughly frustrated. Our team played superbly today and scored three excellent tries.
"We were by some way the better team and deserved to come away with four points."
On the referee’s performance, Hill said: “I have no explanation for why the official changed what he required at the breakdown - everything changed.”
He added: "On the plus side, we need to use this strong performance to secure four points next Saturday against Sedgeley Park.”
Tom Platt began the scoring for Richmond with a 40m penalty.
The home team quickly replied with a try, but Will Warden and Chris Davies competed superbly in the air, frustrating the hosts.
A loose clearance kick from the Blaydon full back found Richmond’s winger Will Browne in midfield and after a series of his trademark twists and turns, he sped 40m to score over the line.
Richmond fly half Louis Grimoldby then showed great vision, his chip and 30m chase allowed him to touchdown under the posts for a try converted by Platt.
Up 15-7 at half time, the Richmond defence was severely tested in the second half.
Richmond kept the ball in hand and yet again the industrious JP Attlee proved a real handful at number eight.
From one of his many runs Warden was found in support and offloaded to Browne, and then to the ever-present flanker Steve Wood to run in under the posts.
With Richmond pushing for the fourth try bonus point, the referee started to penalise the visitors at the breakdown.
Whether in attack or defence, he found constant fault with the Richmond players, giving a series of penalties to the home team, culminating in Richmond lock Chris Davies being yellow carded.
From this penalty, Blaydon yet again kicked to the corner and this time managed to win the lineout and drive over to score a converted try.
Almost from the kick off the ref again penalised Richmond.
With warnings of more yellow cards in their ears Richmond had to endure another catch and drive try and conversion.
With 15 minutes to go Richmond held a 22-21 lead but the home team continued to pressurise their guests.
A counter ruck from the Richmond pack saw the Blaydon scrum half under pressure and the referee again found fault awarding Blaydon a penalty in front of the posts, which Baggett secured to give Blaydon a 24-22 lead.
A losing bonus point away at Blaydon was scant reward for such a strong and dominant performance.