Rosslyn Park took the derby bragging rights off Richmond on Saturday with a 28-15 win at the Rock.
In front of a large crowd, Park saw off the strong challenge from their neighbours to stay second in National League One.
With the wind at their backs, the visitors enjoyed slightly the better of a first half that was a bit of a stop-start affair.
Considerable time was devoted to setting and re-setting scrums and some overly pedantic refereeing did not really allow the game to flow.
If Park looked the more dangerous side when in possession, then the visitors more than negated that by denying them ball for long periods.
Richmond had the first chance after five minutes, played entirely in the home half, with a long range penalty which full-back Rob Kirby pulled wide of the left post.
Park replied with an impressive move that saw lock James Inglis get close to the line, but his flip pass found Richmond hands, and Park were penalised anyway.
The deadlock was broken on 16 minutes when a neat move from Richmond caught the home side short on numbers in the right corner and flanker Simon Ackroyd got over for the try and a 0-5 lead. Kirby’s difficult conversion attempt went narrowly wide.
The reply from the home side was almost immediate.
A super attack up the left was followed by high speed passing across the face of the goal until the ball reached flanker Sam Shires who dived over on the right.
Opener: Sam Shires goes over for Rosslyn Park
Fly half Tom Whelan nailed a good conversion against the wind to put Park ahead by 7-5 on 18 minutes.
Mostly the match was at this stage a tense midfield grind, played to the regular accompaniment of the whistle.
But only the uncommitted, if there were any, would have found the play less than absorbing. Some neat handling from Park saw centre Dante Mama burst through, but Richmond defended well.
A poor clearance kick from Park led to the next try. The recipient made a mazy run through an unformed defence to earn a penalty close to the line.
A quick tap drew another penalty and a repeat saw flanker Tom Shaw plunge over, Kirby converting for 7-12 to the visitors on 30 minutes.
Park began to apply some real pressure, earning a penalty converted by Whelan for 10 -12.
They returned to the attack and Richmond, struggling to contain the strong home pack, were penalised at a scrum allowing Whelan to put his side back in the visiting 22.
Big pressure by Park saw a badly sliced desperate clearance kick but, much to Park’s frustration, the referee signalled for the interval before their 5 metre throw could be taken.
Catch me in you can: Charlie Broughton out paces the Richmond defence
If Richmond shaded the first half, then Park enjoyed a more clear advantage in the second. Five minutes in a clattering tackle dispossessed the visitors and won a penalty around half way. Whelan made no mistake to give Park a 13-12 lead.
A super run by flanker Mike McFarlane took Park to a penalty close to the line and earned a yellow card for Richmond lock Chris Davies.
Park opted to scrummage and drove over for skipper Hugo Ellis to claim the try. Whelan converted for 20-12 on 47 minutes.
Richmond were not yet done with. When Park were pinged for not releasing, Kirby kicked for position and when Park sinned again the full back slotted over the penalty to bring his side back within a score at 20-15 on 53 minutes.
Neither side was yielding anything, but Park won a penalty almost on half way and Whelan nailed a brilliant kick to stretch the lead to 23-15 within the last 20 minutes.
Park conceded a penalty, did not retreat quickly enough for the referee’s liking to concede a further 10 metres, and Kirby will have been very disappointed to have missed what looked a straightforward kick.
Try bound: Mark Ireland breaks free to bag a Park score
Park put the game pretty much beyond doubt when a good move saw centre Mark Ireland slice through the defence for a splendid try to make it 28-15 on 67 minutes and then, almost immediately, Richmond lock Will Warden was sin-binned for a professional foul.
Richmond strove hard for the losing bonus point they deserved. When awarded a penalty on their own 10 metre line. Kirby walloped it into the 22 and, from the throw, Park’s McFarlane was sent to the bin for a professional foul.
Park defended well, but a score looked inevitable when the visitors, back at full strength, had a 5-metre scrum against a reduced pack with the last play of the match. Somehow Park resisted and cleared to claim the spoils.
Park: Edwards; Broughton, Ireland, Mama, Vincent; Whela; Gash; Liffchak, Bellamy, McKenzie; Inglis, Bowley; McFarlane, Shires, Ellis
Substitutes: Wright, Palframan, Broadbent, Hoadley, Ajuwa