Jack D Carry

Hartpury RFC vs Coventry - 49 - 27

Jack D Carry

Coventry Rugby 29 - 47 Hartpury 

Two scores from no.8 Josh Gray topped off a superb second-half display which saw Hartpury register a thrilling seven-try bonus point win at Coventry.

The visitors battled their way through a first half that saw them lose two players to the sinbin before pulling away in 12 fourth-quarter minutes that produced 26 unanswered points.

Director of Rugby John Barnes cut a delighted post-match figure after a win which he said was built on some careful planning.

“Coventry are a brilliant side when they’re on the front foot so we thought we needed to get into their set-piece,” he said.

“We stole a fair few of their lineouts, our scrum was clearly on top and we drove our maul well which got us a couple of tries and put us well into the game.”

“We knew it was going to be a tough place to come as they’ve been a very good side for the last couple of years and they’re especially hard to beat on their home ground.

“We did well to stay in the game with two yellow cards in the first half but we battled through it and managed to come in at half-time with a lead which was a bit of a surprise.

“We then always looked good in the second half and even when we went behind we always looked dangerous and it’s great to score a few tries and to get a win after our disappointing performance last week.”

A strong start from Cov saw Hartpury concede two penalties the second of which saw centre Jack Reeves despatched to the sinbin following a collision of heads with Ryan Hutler.

And the hosts soon took advantage of their numerical superiority by shunting Matt Kvesic over from a five-metre attacking lineout for a try that Evan Mitchell converted.

Hartpury then applied pressure of their own following a scrum penalty and when they kicked to the corner Jarrard Hayler was driven over for a try, which Harry Bazalgette upgraded with a fine kick.

The visitors were briefly restored to full strength only for Bazalgette to be despatched to sidelines for obstructing Pat Pellegrini’s chip and chase.

And Coventry again exploited their temporary advantage with a neat front peel that ended with Tom Ball sending prop Elliot Chilvers over for their second try.

The visitors forced another scrum penalty on the half-hour mark and after the ball was sent to the corner referee Jonathan Cook awarded them a penalty try when James Tyas collapsed the ensuing maul.

The home lock was duly sent to the sinbin and with their lineout under pressure Cov were forced to absorb some pressure in the closing minutes of a half, which ended with a thumping David Opoku tackle preventing Jake Morris from exploiting a promising position.

This left Hartpury with a 12-14 interval advantage and the visitors extended this by seven points shortly after the restart when no.8 Josh Gray forced his way under the home posts for a score which Bazalgette upgraded.

Mitchell kicked Coventry back within one score with a simple 20-metre penalty and the hosts promptly regained the lead when Will Rigg broke down the right and after an exchange of passes with Ryan Hutler went under the posts for a try which Mitchell improved.

But Hartpury bounced quickly back and when they gained field position and a five-metre scrum from a lengthy kicking exchange they eventually drove replacement prop Mikey Summerfield over for a try, which Bazalgette converted.

This triggered a 12-minute spell during which Hartpury scored 26 unanswered points to clinch the points and bring Coventry’s long unbeaten home record to an end.

Gray was driven under the home posts by his pack for their fifth try and after Bazalgette converted, Hartpury immediately broke from a midfield lineout and sent replacement lock Danny Kite racing over for touchdown number six.

When Cov turned possession over in midfield replacement scrum half Matty Jones regathered Jack Davies’ kick ahead to round off Hartpury’s scoring spree before the hosts had the last word – and registered a try bonus point – through Will Wand’s converted 80th-minute try.

By Paul Smith

Coventry 29 - 47 Hartpury




Tries: Kvesic 9, Chilvers 19, Rigg 55, Wand 80

Conversions: Mitchell 9, 55, 80

Penalties: Mitchell 52



Tries: Harper 15, Penalty Try 30, Gray 45, 71, Summerfield 67, Kite 74, Jones 79

Conversions: Bazalgette 15, 45, 67, 71, 79

Penalties: n/a


Referee: Jonathan Cook

Attendance: 3146

Star man: Josh Gray

Half-time: Coventry 12 - 14 Hartpury




Coventry: Mitchell; Hutler, Rigg, Betteridge (Wand 52), Opoku (James 68); Pellegrini, Chudley (Lane 63); Chilvers (Cordwell 48), Poole (Stewart 59), Salt (Nairau 52); Tyas, Anstey (Nkwocha 52); Ball, Kvesic, Bartlett (Ryan 56).

Hartpury: Jones (Adderley-Jones 48); Johnson, Reeves (Smith 13), Mathews, Morris; Bazalgette, Austin (Jones 74); A.Benz-Salomon (Summerfield 63), Crane (F.Davies 60), J.Benz-Salomon (Gibson 74); Owen (Eite 74), J.Davies; Lewis, Hayler, Gray (Cobbett 78).