Hartpury V Bedford

Hartpury RFC vs Coventry - Premiership Cup - 19 - 35

Hartpury V Bedford


A late flurry of two tries in the final eight minutes couldn’t stop Hartpury from succumbing to their second loss in three games, against a clinical Coventry side.

The home-side struggled to get territory or possession against their second tier rivals until a late comeback in the final quarter of the tie.

It leaves Hartpury fifth in Pool A of the new formatted Premiership Cup, and with plenty to prove ahead of their derby clash against Gloucester on Friday night.

Hartpury director of rugby John Barnes said: “We’re a little disappointed, Coventry are a good side, but we made a lot of errors today.

“Whether it was a poor kick, a drop ball, missing tackles, and it meant we couldn’t really get in the game – and it felt we were fortunate in the first-half that the score line wasn’t worse. There is a positive in how we continued to fight back in the second half.”

Full of confidence after beating Saracens and drawing against Harlequins, it took just six minutes for the grey-and-sky blue clad Coventry to get a line-out deep in Hartpury territory, before executing a classy training ground move, with scrum-half Will Chudley and Lucas Titherington breaking on the short-side, with the inside-centre bursting through to score.

In near perfect, sunny conditions, the visitors had a clear edge, and after Cov’s forwards got within a whisker of the posts, fly-half Evan Mitchell found a gap and nipped round Hartpury hooker Ethan Hunt to stretch and score, and convert to double Cov’s lead.

Coventry looked to have scored on the 35th minute, a scrum led to a cross-field break, and Chudley and outside-centre Will Wand had the white line begging, but for a forward pass.

It was then Hartpury’s turn for handling errors, blindside Harry Short and Hunt looked to have broken through from a line-out, but for a spot of white-line fever leading to a forward pass.

Just three minutes in the second-half and Coventry broke cross-field from a scrum with blindside Patrick Ryan twisting his way past the last defender to dot down.

Coventry had a clear hold of the game, but errors and unforced infringements meant the visitors were their own worst enemy, and unable to extend their lead despite being camped in Hartpury’s half for large spells.

A Chudley over the top chip fell perfectly for former Jersey Reds’ wing Ryan Hutler to break past the red shirted melee, and run in to score Cov’s bonus point try on the hour-mark.

Hartpury finally sprung into life in the final quarter, Short found a gap from a line-out 10 metres of the try line to dive over and get Hartpury on the scoresheet.

A fantastic solo-effort by scrum-half Oscar Lennon saw him break from deep, run 40 metres with a chip-and-chase – and he looked to have scored. But it was given as a penalty try – with Coventry fullback Louis James sin-binned on the 73rd minute, his efforts earning him an early bath.

Despite being a man down, Coventry still played some fantastic running rugby, with Mitchell and Hutler tripping themselves up, before another break by replacement back-rower Chester Owen setting-up Hutler, the 26-year-old slicing between two Hartpury defenders to score his second.

The home-side didn’t give up, and a Hartpury driving-maul saw hooker Will Crane score under a pile of bodies in the final play.

The win breaks Coventry’s six match losing spell at the Alpas Arena, and puts them second in Pool A, behind Gloucester.

Coventry coach Alex Rae said: “We’re delighted to get five points on the road. After the start we’ve had against Saracens and Harlequins, this was always going to be a tough game emotionally for the players, and we dealt with that really well.

“We also showed a little bit of our squad depth today. A lot of lads got debuts and plenty of minutes, so that’s pleasing too.”

Hartpury 19 Coventry 35



Tries: Short 63, penalty try 73, Crane 79

Conversions: Chamberlain 64




Tries: Titherington 6, Mitchell 25, Ryan 43, Hutler 60, 76

Conversions: Mitchell 7, 26, 44, 61, 77