It is five weeks since Hartpury kicked off a home fixture in the GK IPA Championship, having played five of their eight league fixtures so far away from the Gillman’s Ground.
DoR John Barnes and Head Coach Mark Cornwell will be hoping that a return to the comforts of home will encourage a better performance than those seen in the last two league matches, a last-gasp narrow win at London Scottish followed by defeat at the Cornish Pirates last week.
Although Hartpury and this week’s visitors have massively different histories – Richmond were formed in 1861 and played in the first ever club fixture, versus Blackheath – the two clubs have bumped into one another quite frequently in the more recent past.
We spent two seasons alongside each other in National League 1, and it was the away team who came away with the victories in all four meetings between the clubs. Most recently, Richmond’s win here late in the 2015-16 season guaranteed their promotion to the Championship and reversed the Red & Blacks’ equally impressive result at the Athletic Ground in December 2015, arguably our most complete performance of that particular campaign.
Previously, the clubs also met during one season in National 2 (2011-12), with home victories for both.
Richmond are in good form, having won five of their past seven matches in all competitions. Last week’s home win over a slightly faltering Doncaster Knights, followed earlier league wins against Yorkshire Carnegie, Rotherham and Jersey. They currently sit just one place and one point away from Hartpury in the league table.
Given their recent form, it is perhaps unsurprising that Richmond come into the fixture with a settled line-up, scrum half Luc Jones having escaped censure from a citing committee earlier in the week. You can read details of their full squad announcement here.
The match kicks off at 2.30pm.