Eastenders go down to Clark and company
Hartpury RFC 62
IAN Clark bagged a hat-trick of tries as a youthful Hartpury side heaped more misery Barking.
Ironically, it was the winless visitors who opened the scoring after a strong showing in the opening exchanges when Craig Ratford slotted a penalty.
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But that was as good as it got for the troubled Eastenders as Hartpury, captained by 19-year-old England and Gloucester lock Elliott Stooke, seized control of the contest.
Hooker Callum O'Connell touched down at the back of a driving maul on seven minutes as his pack almost sprinted over the line and Billy Burns converted.
Winger Clark grabbed the first of his treble ten minutes later after the ball was swung wide from another maul, with Olly Forrest swiftly halving Barking's deficit courtesy of a second penalty.
O'Connell then scored a mirror image of his first, before Harry Casson secured the four-try bonus point on 31 minutes after a bulldozing dash up the left wing, with Burns adding the extras.
Clark's second was arguably the score of the match as a lightning counter-attack from a turnover, instigated by a brilliant penetrating run from Alex Woodburn, released the winger in the corner as Burns converted for a 31-6 half-time lead.
Brandon Walker, who at 23 was one of the elder statesmen of a pack with an average age of 21, added a sixth try nine minutes after the restart after yet another catch-and-drive.
Hartpury continued to attack at will but lacked the same accuracy and precision that demolished Bournemouth the previous week, and they had to wait until the 58th minute for their next score.
After the forwards had bludgeoned their opponents through several phases, number eight Tom Ailes wriggled through to ground the ball at full stretch.
Replacement Sam Raven crashed over in the shadow of the posts three minutes later following a fine offload from Alex Dancer, with Clark claiming the extra two after Brad Field had replaced Burns.
Clark's next points came through far more conventional means as a trademark broken field run from halfway saw the Gloucester Academy flier glide in for his third try, which he improved himself.
Jack Hayes' searing burst from the kickoff, rounded off a devastating eight-minute spell in which four tries were scored, with Clark converting for the game's final points.
HARTPURY RFC: S Marsden; J Hayes, C Jackson (A Dancer 46), S Rodwell, I Clark; B Burns (B Field 52), C Stuart-Smith; R Cano, C O'Connell, D Crompton (J Gibbons 59); E Stooke, H Casson; B Walker, A Woodburn (S Raven 51), T Ailes (L Grinsell 59).
BARKING: O Forrest; A Ibberson, A Lowe, I Udo-Udoma, A Foster; C Ratford (J Quirke 59), J Fouracre; S Turner (N John 56), R Anderson (R MacFarlane 51), S John; A James-Nicholls, D Kearsey; M Anderson, T Yellowlees, M Sinfield (D Peasnall 56).
Referee: Dave Edmunds (RFU)