Clark's double sees Hartpury bounce back
CHINNOR 8 HARTPURY 22
IAN Clark bagged two tries as Hartpury won a hard-fought encounter at Chinnor.
Hartpury's director of rugby Alan Martinovic had urged his charges to respond after last week's miserable 15-14 home defeat to promotion rivals Worthing.
Martinovic would have been delighted with the visitors' start as they opened the scoring on eight minutes.
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Alex Dancer made an initial galloping break before being dragged down just short. The forwards recycled the ball through three phases, before Brad Field switched play back to Dancer on the blind side, with the imposing centre barging over for a five-pointer.
James Cathcart appeared to have reduced Chinnor's deficit with a penalty just past the quarter-hour mark, but a gale of a wind fooled the assistant referees as they failed to raise their flags.
Hartpury's fortune continued when Ross Moriarty was lucky to see only yellow after the flanker's punch connected with the chin of Jonathan Winpenny, who was also sin-binned for his role in the incident.
The string of bizarre events was not over as Cathcart's penalty shot on 33 minutes was called good despite seemingly drifting wide.
Chinnor then snatched the lead shortly before the break as Andrew Berry burrowed over from close range after Henry Colver was tackled inches from the whitewash.
The visitors were not behind for long, however, as three minutes after the restart Nathan Thomas applied the finishing touch to a passage of phase play that began inside the Hartpury half.
Clark grabbed the first of his brace four minutes later when he fended off two defenders on the outside to touch down, with Billy Burns nailing a conversion into a vicious headwind.
The Gloucester Academy flier repeated the feat with the final quarter approaching to secure the bonus point. Hartpury peeled away from the back of a lineout and crashed up the middle before swinging the ball wide to winger Clark, who skipped over.
Chinnor battled hard in the closing stages to claim a losing bonus point.
But the away side repelled their attacks to preserve their unbeaten record on the road.
CHINNOR: H Colver; H Swailes (M Mountford 33), L Fielding, S Stoop, T Corpe; J Cathcart (W Millett 65), R Hopwood; J Winpenny (I Stock 47), M Hoyland, A Berry (J Pickett 71); T Mowbray, A Smith (D Hughes 47); E Sawyer, N Harrison (I Stock 35-40), J Kava
HARTPURY: S Marsden; J Hayes, A Dancer, S Rodwell, I Clark; B Burns (L Cozens 65), B Field (C Stuart-Smith 67); J Gibbons, C O'Connell (L Grinsell 77), D Crompton; W Graulich (B Walker 67), H Casson; R Moriarty, L Wilkinson, N Thomas. Unused rep: H Sandys
Referee: Michael Cooper (RFU)