2A Hartpury V Bedford 24Th Feb 2024

Hartpury RFC vs Doncaster - 18 - 20

2A Hartpury V Bedford 24Th Feb 2024

Hartpury’s first game of the season ends in a narrowly hard-fought defeat in Doncaster

By CALLUM McINTYRE, at Castle Park


Hartpury went toe-to-toe with Doncaster Knights as they narrowly miss out in winning a back-and-forth game where every try and penalty was met with reply.

Early pressure came from the hosts as they built within ten metres of scoring, which didn’t come without Hartpury creating some pressure of their own and making their way into the Doncaster 22 metre.

The home side knocked the ball forward, giving away a scrum deep inside their half, leading to a penalty from the scrum and scored by flyhalf, Harry Bazalgette, to Hartpury’s the first score of the 2023/24 season.

It was then Doncaster’s turn to make their mark, breaking through the middle and mounting pressure on top of Hartpury. After several phases of direct and hard-hitting rugby, Doncaster scrumhalf, Ollie Fox, weaved past to grab the first try of the game, with Sam Olver converting and scoring once again only minutes later from a drop-kick.

Hartpury looked to reply quicky with a try of their own. Bazalgette cleverly grubbered a kick past the defence and it took a composed pass inside towards Sam Lewis to finish for the try.

As the second half started, Doncaster came out knocking on the door with a five-metre line-out and a scrum which led to Joe Margetts scoring their second try, with Olver converting.

Once again, Hartpury refused to let the home side take the score out of their reach, pushing to build the ball towards the Doncaster defence with Oscar Lennon scoring down the left wing, and Bazalgette converting a tough kick next to the touchline.

The hosts largened their lead by five after scoring from a penalty, but Bazalgette had his say as from a penalty as the clock ticks ever closer towards fulltime to bring the game back within two points.

In the dying moments of the game there was a sense of belief as Alex Morgan broke through well into the Doncaster half with options to pass left and right the attack but was equally matched with three Doncaster defenders to cover.

John Barnes, Hartpury Director of Rugby said in his post-match interview: “Little bit disappointing we lost the game but really pleased with where we stuck in, performed, and kept going, and it was touch-and-go who was going to win there at the end.”

He added, “We’ve got to be a little bit more physical. We’re never the most physical team in the league anyway but we were a little bit standoff-ish today.”

Hartpury Captain, Will Crane said: “Gutting, because we lost but there’s a lot to be proud of.

“Moving forward, the way we stuck in the game, we were pragmatic in our set piece, and all of those are good stuff, so we’re pleased with that”.

Doncaster Knights 20 – 18 Hartpury


Doncaster Knights:


Tries: Fox 27, Margetts 45

Conversions: Olver 27, 46

Penalties: Olver 65

Drop Goals: Olver 30




Tries: Lewis 33, Lennon 50

Conversions: Bazalgette 52

Penalties: Bazalgette 11, 73

Drop Goals:


Referee: Hamish Grant

Attendance: 2,056

Half-time: 10 - 8 (to Doncaster)

Star man: Harry Bazalgette - Hartpury






Penalties conceded: 12

Line-outs won: 11

Line-outs lost: 4

Scrums won: 4

Scrums lost: 0

Sin-bin/red: 0/0




Penalties conceded: 12

Line-outs won: 17

Line-outs lost: 0

Scrums won: 2

Scrums lost: 0

Sin-bin/red: 0/0