With neither promotion nor relegation on the cards, Richmond’s season could be in danger of petering out – but director of rugby Steve Hill insists there is plenty to play for, writes Paddy von Behr.
Victory at Worthing Raiders last weekend ensured Richmond will take their place in SSE National Division One next year, though their top-half position suggests relegation was not too likely.
A win against fourth-place Fylde on Saturday would complete an unbeaten March for Hill’s side but, as the club strives to improve each year, he has a more important target in mind.
Just seven points short of last season’s points total and one place better off in the table, the Richmond boss will not be letting up between now and the end of the season.
“Last year we finished eighth with 76 points and the aim was to better last season’s finish – and that goal is in sight,” said Hill.
“We have got some big games – Loughborough and Tynedale are very much in the mix for the relegation and we will be putting out our strongest side for those games.
“Fylde are a very good side who have had a strong season and we tend to have very exciting matches between the two teams. We are looking forward to playing against them and we have got to kick on from last weekend.
“We still have a lot to play for. We are not in the promotion hunt, but we are very keen to each year improve and progress.
“We had a tough start, but the players have responded very well since Christmas.”
Saturday’s win at Worthing was a dramatic one, as Richmond came from 11 points behind at the break to run in four second-half tries and win 36-28.
It followed wins against Cinderford and Wharfedale this month, as well as a 31-31 draw with Blackheath, and the hosts can begin to reel in Fylde with victory this weekend.
“We don’t seem to be doing things the easy way over the last month or so,” Hill added.
“Worthing were a bit of a bogey team for us and it is the first time in three visits we have gone down there and won – particularly getting the bonus point as well.
“I think we just had to reduce the number of mistakes we were making and keep hold of the ball a bit better and the guys responded really well.
“From there our pack very much took control and in the last half an hour we dominated the Worthing scrum.”
* SSE, proud sponsor of the National and Divisional Leagues, has £10,000 worth of mobile floodlights for your club to win. To find out how to enter go to SSERugby.com.