Richmond set up nervous run-in for OAs

Max Wilkins hangs on to a tackle

Max Wilkins hangs on to a tackle - Credit: Archant

It is still a nervous time for Old Albanian who, although they had their chances at the Athletic ground, were not quite as precise and as forceful as their hosts, writes Brian Quinn.

Certainly things started off well enough for the visitors who kicked of long and forced the error from the Richmond midfield. Dan Watt picked off the loose pass and gave skipper Billy Johnson an easy run to the posts. Watt converted safely for the early seven point lead.

Ten minutes later scrum half Jordan Burns sped wide to release Will Browne who crossed in the corner. The equalising conversion flew wide and it took until the thirty fourth minute for Rob Kirby to give his side the lead with a well taken penalty. All the while the Richmond pack exerted a certain dominance in the tight scrum and this was to be a defining feature later on.

Watt gave the lead back to OAs from a penalty with the last kick of the half.

Henry Cheeseman broke or avoided a series of tackles three minutes into the second period for a 15-10 advantage and the pressure was maintained in OA territory almost for the rest of the third quarter. Then a great counter attack by Jimmy Speirs gave Watt his second penalty, reducing the deficit to just two points.

Moments later Browne struck again on the left for another unconverted try and ten minutes of careful attack gave Burns the opportunity for Kirby to convert and put the result beyond doubt. Cheeseman scored his second with six minutes left, Kirby again with the improvement.

OA’s only fluent attack of the half finished well when Watt broke clear and delivered the scoring pass to Mike Allan. Watt kept his 100 per cent kicking record.

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Macclesfield visit Woollams on Saturday and they must now be resigned to level four rugby next year. Which means they will have nothing to lose and can be relied upon to make every effort to disturb OA’s late season. Kick-off 15.00.