The last Saturday before Christmas, a local derby as top of the table Ealing Trailfinders visit local rivals and defiantly the form team of the moment, Richmond FC at the Athletic Ground. Richmond currently lie in third position, only one point behind second placed Jersey and six behind the league leaders.
Richmond’s form since their loss to Ealing, 15-13 at Vallis Way in September has been magnificent. They suffered three early season defeats, but have since gone 11 games undefeated, including some strong results against, including wins against Jersey ( 25-14), OAs away ( 26-39), Worthing (31-8) and Canterbury ( 28-52). Without a doubt they have come good since the trip to Vallis Way.
Their Director of Rugby, Ex Oxford University supremo Steve Hill said earlier in the week, “All at Richmond FC are excited about the visit of Ealing this coming Saturday. The game in September was a really exciting, close affair and I am sure the same will be true of this coming match. The Richmond team has changed quite a bit since the September encounter and the team have gained a good amount of confidence through their unbeaten run over the last eleven matches. The beating of Jersey and Old Albanians plus the way in which the team played against Lydney last week have been the highlights of that run. Ealing have had some really strong performances and so it will be a match between the two form teams as the last match before the Christmas break. Both sides want to play rugby and so the game will potentially be a real Christmas cracker!”
Richmond FC – A history
Richmond, a club rich in history, was formed in 1861 and participated in the world’s very first inter-club fixture in 1864 against Blackheath. It is one of the 8 existing founding clubs to have formed the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in 1871. It broke new ground by hosting the first experimental floodlit match on Richmond’s ground in 1878, and it was one of the first clubs to host the All Blacks touring side in 1905. Richmond played in the first match on the RFU’s ground at Twickenham in 1909. It even played in the first match under the Football Association Rules of 1863 but quickly decided that these rules were not for Richmond! It was one of the first clubs to embrace professionalism in 1996.
In its three years as a professional club it attracted a strong squad of players and gained promotion by winning Division 2 in 1996/7 and finished 5th and 9th respectively in the Premiership in the next two years. In early 1999 the major financial backer to the club withdrew his support and consequently Richmond went in to administration. The club’s right to play in the premier Division was removed and the professional squad was disbanded.
A new company, Richmond Vikings Ltd., financed by a number of old and new Richmond supporters, has successfully re-established the club in the old Corinthian spirit. The Club came out of administration in May 2002 and Vikings have also been successful in buying the vast majority of shares in the Richmond Athletic Association, which holds the lease of the Athletic Ground comprising 7 pitches in 26 acres. This has enabled Richmond to keep the tradition alive on the grounds where the club has played rugby since 1889.
Richmond in 2010
Richmond have had a great turn around since their three early season defeats . They remain unbeaten in their last 11 games, including the last six at the Athletic Ground. They have scored 527 points and conceded just 238 (to Ealing’s 659 v 229). They have eight points for four try bonuses and two losing bonus points as well.
Flanker Guy Thompson heads their try scoring list with 14, not bad for a piggy forward…… Wing Nick Barrett is next on eight. Stand off Ross Broadfoot, has 128 points to his name, against Ealing’s Neil Hallett on 210. Off the tries scored Richmond have an even split, 34 by the backs and 32 by the forwards, whilst Ealing backs account for 70, to the forwards 15!
Saturday 18th December, The Athletic Ground kick off 3pm………a better bet than Christmas Shopping!
Previous results of games between Ealing Trailfinders & Richmond FC
08/10/05 Richmond 32 Ealing Trailfinders 12
11/02/06 Ealing Trailfinders 30 Richmond 20
09/09/06 Richmond 20 Ealing Trailfinders 40
17/03/07 Ealing Trailfinders 40 Richmond 14
20/12/08 Richmond 22 Ealing Trailfinders 27
04/04/09 Ealing Trailfinders 51 Richmond 10
12/09/09 Richmond 17 Ealing Trailfinders 32
02/01/10 Ealing Trailfinders 24 Richmond 16
11/09/10 Ealing Trailfinders 15 Richmond 13
Other National 2 South games this weekend
Canterbury v Westcombe Park
Dings Crusaders v Clifton
Henley Hawks v Newbury
Lydney v Taunton
Shelford v Old Albanians
Southend v Hinckley
Worthing v Jersey