Hartpury RFC battle to first
Hartpury College RFC battled to their first ever win in National Division Two South in a scrappy game against fellow promoted side Barnes, who were highly competitive in all areas of the game before eventually succumbing 22-10.
After an attritional first 25 minutes, the Hartpury pack managed to apply some pressure on the Londoners’ try line and Sean Lynn fed former British Lions prop Darren Morris to batter his way over the line from close range and open the scoring for the hosts, with Tim Stevenson adding the conversion.
Barnes fly half Gareth Davies-Williams reduced the deficit with a penalty in front of the posts on the half-hour mark, and Stevenson missed with two attempts of his own before restoring Hartpury’s seven-point advantage 10 minutes after the break.
Rob Dempsey raced clear of the covering defence after a fine break from fullback Graham Speirs to score Hartpury’s second try two minutes later, but Barnes, who had defended admirably throughout the game, hit back on 65 minutes after James Hersey gathered Davies-Williams’ neat grubber kick to touch down underneath the posts, with the latter adding the extras to bring the score line to 15-10.
With the game in the balance, the spirited visitors held revived hopes of inflicting only a third ever home defeat on Hartpury, but Stevenson sealed victory for the Gloucestershire side nine minutes from time as they spread the ball to the opposite wing from a lineout on the Barnes 22, allowing the former England Students player to squeeze over the line and kick a superb conversion from out wide.
Hartpury RFC’s next match is a tricky away trip to Hertford, who were promoted from National Division Three London and South East at the end of last season along with Barnes, on Saturday 10th September.
Squad: 15 Speirs 14 Brend 13 Dempsey (1T) 12 Hayes 11 Allanson 10 Stevenson (1T, 2C, 1P) 9 Lynn 1 Barrington 2 Collins 3 Morris (1T) 4 Waldron 5 Casson 6 Walker 7 Lawler 8 Thomas (capt.) 16 Townsend (Collins) 17 Sandys (Barrington) 18 Mills (Lawler) 19 Davies (Lynn) 20 Knox
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