Preview: Richmond vs Old Albanian

Ollie Marchon is stopped by two opponents

Ollie Marchon is stopped by two opponents - Credit: Archant

A week away from the salt mines will have done wonders for both clubs who face each other at the Athletic Ground this Saturday, writes Brian Quinn.

Match winner Richard Gregg

Match winner Richard Gregg - Credit: Archant

With their tremendous history, Richmond are always regarded as top flight opponents by Old Albanian.

Looking back at the season so far Richmond had a much better start than OAs who contrived to lose their first eight games. This has put OAs under great pressure for much of the preceding five months and it is of no value to think that without the undoubted fear of dropping into the relegation zone, many games which were lost could so easily have been won.

Yet Billy Johnson’s men have to look forward with confidence, although a certain amount of rear vision may help to accomplish that. Since statistical analysis is all the rage these days, some number crunching may be relevant. Richmond are in seventh place in National League One whilst OAs are in 13th spot. Richmond have won one game more for their 16-point lead, 10 against nine.

Recent history shows up a little more interesting for OAs. Since the start of December each side has played 11 matches, Richmond winning two and OAs four.

Richmond have scored 278 points and 35 tries in that period and their opponents 196 points and 23 tries respectively. On the defensive side Richmond have conceded 373 points and OAs a more respectable 249.

Richmond have beaten Esher away but OAs have not won on the road in that time; Richmond have had two tied games against Blackheath and Coventry and OAs can point to victories over Fylde, Darlington and Blaydon. Clearly each side can set the stall out to advantage.

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OAs are not out of the wood yet and head coach Andy Holloway has already stated every game is now a cup final.

It may be that the six point cushion above the red zone will allow the team to function with greater confidence and precision.

Richmond will certainly want to improve on seventh place, and avenge their dramatic loss earlier in the season. It will make for a thrilling battle. Kick-off is 3pm.