Richmond secured a vital four points by defeating Rotherham Titans 23-6 at Clifton Lane.

Following last week's disappointing loss to Cinderford, Richmond bounced back strongly to record their seventh win of the National League 1 season with an impressive performance in difficult conditions.

Rotherham had toppled Chinnor away the previous week and started full of belief. However, Richmond were always in full control up front and their defensive line seldom allowed their opponents any breathing space.

Richmond retain top position in National League 1, with Rosslyn Park and Blackheath in second and third to give a traditional feel to the table.

After the disappointing performance against Cinderford, Richmond made a number of changes.

With both props out injured or unavailable, Ken Dowding and David Banfield stepped in whilst Giles Bromley-Martin returned at centre in place of the injured Ronnie McLean.

Tom Hodgson (ex Darlington MP) made his debut at fly-half, with Lewis Dennett moving to the bench, where he was joined by New Zealander Ryan Nixon, who has worked his way through the Saxons and Vikings.

With the rain teaming all afternoon, the grass long and the pitch narrow, there was never going to be much opportunity for anything other than route one rugby.

After some early touchline exchanges between the kickers, Jamie Gibbs set up the first opportunity with a neat nudge into the 22.

Max Crawford got a hand to the Rotherham throw and Richmond had a chance to pound the Rotherham line. On this occasion the home side escaped but the pressure was soon back on.

At the set scrum, the Richmond forwards managed a convincing shove to drive their opponents off the ball and win a penalty.

From the five metre line out, the pack then steadily picked and drove until David Banfield forced his way over and Kirby added the conversion.

The Richmond back-row were always prominent in the loose and the outstanding Toby Saysell simply flattened fly-half Sam Hollingsworth with a crunching tackle to assert his authority.

Mistakes were inevitable in the sodden conditions and, after the Titans knocked on, Richmond mounted the first of a series of convincing driving mauls to earn a penalty, converted from long distance by Kirby. After twenty minutes, Richmond led 0-10.

Hollingsworth tested Richmond with a range of high kicks but Kirby, backed by his two wings, was always secure with his marking.

After 37 minutes, Richmond extended their lead with a penalty after Rotherham came offside in defence. However in the last three minutes, the Titans finally earned some territory and threatened the line with a drive from the line-out.

But they were held up and had to settle for a penalty, converted from in front by Hollingsworth.

Heartened by their first score, the Titans had the best of the early exchanges in the second half.

After 46 minutes, they were awarded a penalty 50 metres out to the right and Hollingsworth’s excellent kick just crept over to bring his side within seven points.

However, this really marked the peak of Rotherham’s effort as Richmond now took increasing control of the game.

Winning a penalty at the tackle, fly-half Hodgson kicked beautifully to the corner and the pack drove swiftly over, Ross Grimstone getting the try.

With a lead of fourteen points, Richmond played safe with the next penalty, extending the lead by another three points after another devastating forward drive.

Rotherham had one more clear chance when flanker Lewis Wilson made a rare clean break to get within two metres.

However, the Richmond defence scrambled back effectively and were finally able to clear.

Cheered on by their magnificent supporters and well led by their player of the match Zak Poole, the Titans never lost heart and they successfully denied the visitors any more points.

Richmond stuck to their game plan and dominated territory in the final minutes but, under pressure and with a slippery ball, errors were almost inevitable and there was no realistic opportunity to chase a try bonus point.

Richmond emptied their bench in the final minutes and there was time for Nixon to make his First XV debut.

His team managed to set up in the 22 a couple of times but the ball went loose at critical moments and it was a relief to all, when, with the temperature dropping, referee Charles Gayther blew for full-time.

Director of Rugby Steve Hill said: “Today was a hugely improved performance. Our pack dominated in the tight whilst our defence kept Rotherham try-less. Given the awful pitch and weather conditions this was a really well disciplined and controlled display.”

Tickets are now on sale for Richmond’s home fixture against Old Elthamians this Saturday 2nd November (KO 3pm). Tickets are on sale here.