RAMS Director of Rugby Seb Reynolds admitted his side paid for their errors after suffering a first National One defeat of the season in a 37-22 reverse at table-topping Richmond.

Having began the season in fine style with a quartet of wins – including the last-gasp triumph at home to Chinnor seven days before Saturday's encounter – Rams again put in a good shift, but were ultimately outgunned by a side which was playing Championship rugby last season.

And Reynolds confessed: "You have to understand that when you play a good side like Richmond you pay for your mistakes, especially when they have an exceptional kicker like Rob Kirby.

"In the 79th minute it was three tries each at the Athletic Ground, which would have been a pipe dream a couple of seasons back.

"We fielded some young players and they were not daunted by the experience, which is great for the future of our side. We will learn from this loss and improve – surviving in our first season at this level is what it is about."

It was the home side took the lead in the first minute through a Kirby penalty, and shortly after their forwards' power led to the first of their three catch-and-drive tries, Jake Parker eventually dotting down and Kirby adding the extras.

Rams found their stride after the first quarter and a series of phases ended when fly-half Alex Seers’ pin-point kick to the corner gave wing Connor Corrigan a score near the flag. Seers was unable to convert, but Rams were back in the game with the score 10-5.

Kirby was on hand again on the 30th minute to slot a second penalty, but Rams returned to Richmond’s half and a deft chip-and-chase from Andrew Humberstone gave the centre his first try of the day. Seers conversion reduced the deficit to just a single point with the score 13-12.

The game was to swing dramatically on the 37th minute when some aggressive Richmond rucking left Sean McDonnell-Roberts dazed, and when he collapsed at a scrum immediately after the referee awarded a penalty to the home side and a yellow card to the prop.

Richmond took advantage with a kick deep into their opposition’s 22 and the now trademark catch-and-drive was dotted down by the outstanding Ross Grimstone, the ever accurate Kirby converting to make the half-time score 20-12.

The yellow cards were evened-up in the 43rd minute when Richmond prop Timmy Howard-Walford was given 10 minutes in the sin-bin for a high tackle on Rams’ scrum-half Ollie Cole.

The men from Reading were now in the ascendancy, but were met with a monumental defensive effort. However, they did trim the gap with a Seers penalty, only for Richmond to hit back immediately with wing Hamish Graham crossing for a converted score.

Kirby landed a 61st-minute penalty to extend the gap to 30-15, but Rams refused to wilt and bagged a third try when Humberstone went over, Seers adding the extras.

However, it was the hosts who had the final word, sealing a try bonus-point when Charlie Gibbings crossed at the back of another powerful maul in injury time. The outstanding Kirby landed the conversion to complete a marvellous display.

Rams will look to get back to winning ways at home to basement side Hull Ionians on Saturday (2.30pm).