Australia beckons for Richards who signs off in style for Bishopston
MATT Richards signed off in style, playing a key role in Bishopston's two tries to set up a 20-7 Gloucester One home win over Old Colstonians in his final appearance before heading for Australia.
The 30-year-old utility back links up with Perth club Cottesloe on January 2, swapping the mud and rain of Northern Hemisphere winter rugby for the beach and sunshine lifestyle offered by the oldest club in Western Australia.
Richards, who had spells with Northampton, Coventry and the Ospreys before qualifying as a teacher and becoming Bish's player-coach, said: "At my age you're not going to get too many more opportunities to do something like this, particularly as I'm not as fast as I used to be.
"The only regret I had about my rugby career was not playing overseas somewhere so this is a chance I have to take.
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"I'll be playing in the local Premiership which is one level below Super 15.
"You're facing lads on their way up and even Wallabies on their way back from injury. I just want to do as well as I can, have some fun and be around to watch the Lions when they're in town."
Bish, who moved three places up the table to eighth on the back of this win, will certainly miss Richards who was the difference between these two sides with his eye for a gap and strong running.
He was denied a farewell try, being held up over the line after sprinting clear from his own 22 in the first half before, from the resulting scrum, centre Jon Martin jinked over for a touchdown close to the posts he also converted.
And Richards also made the decisive break for his side's second try after the break, bursting down the right touchline and drawing the final defender for centre Sam Bowler to jog around under the posts.
Martin converted and was also on target with two penalties to wrap up an important win for Bish in their battle to avoid relegation. Centre Dave Wyn-Jones broke through the Bish defence to put strong winger Lewis Walden through for Old Cs only try in the 26th minute.
Walden converted before being forced off with an ankle problem which was the story of the afternoon for the visitors who were disrupted by further injuries and consistently lost momentum due to a frustratingly high number of knock-ons though Bish edged the forward exchanges with Lee Dunn a powerful force at No 8.
Old Boys coach Tom Williams said: "We were out muscled. We didn't play very well and did not deserve to win."
In Gloucester Two, BAC ended their year on a high with a 29-3 home defeat of relegation rivals Cheltenham Civil Service.
Alastair Killham (2), Rob Wilton and skipper Ian Dinwiddie crossed with Sam Sheppard having another good day with the boot, adding three conversions and a penalty.
St Brendan's moved up to third thanks to a 17-7 home triumph over Cainscross. Winger Harry Hazell claimed two tries with Antony Kolanko also touching down and adding one conversion while man of the match honours went to winger Tom Wootton.
In Gloucester Premier, Bristol Saracens boosted spirits with a 28-5 home victory over Whitehall. Ian Werrett, at fly-half, booted two first half penalties and then crossed after the break while other tries came from winger Mike Wright, hooker Andy 'Lumpy' Wilmott and skipper Will Harding.
Frampton Cotterell remain top after a 20-9 derby home win over St Mary's while third-placed Southmead lost ground with a 16-14 reverse at Gordon League.