Hartpury dish out defeat to Dings Crusaders
DINGS CRUSADERS 25
Luke Cozens kicked 25 points as Hartpury inflicted only a second home defeat of the season on Dings Crusaders.
The Bristolians outscored Hartpury by three tries to two despite seeing far less of the ball, but it was former Bath man Cozens' masterclass with the boot that proved the deciding factor.
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Hartpury began the match in blistering fashion and opened the scoring through flanker George Mills with only 93 seconds on the clock.
After some patient phase play in the 22, lock Sam Raven bowled over a Dings defender before unselfishly releasing Mills for a try under the posts, converted easily by Cozens.
Cozens then kicked two penalties in as many minutes, with his opposite number Mark Woodrow successful with one from two in response.
Three more points from Cozens followed on 20 minutes before the fly-half's shot from 40-metres drifted wide, his only miss from ten attempts off the tee. Hartpury continued to press and were rewarded when Seb Rodwell glided through a gap in the defence to cross in the shadow of the posts after Dings had repelled a driving maul. Cozens improved for a 23-3 lead.
But the hosts, a notoriously tricky proposition at Landseer Avenue, pegged their opponents back two minutes before the interval.
Hartpury managed to defend an ominous rolling maul, but they were powerless to prevent experienced openside Stean Williams from burrowing over from after a series of pick-and-drives. Woodrow added the conversion.
Cozens and Woodrow traded penalties at the start of an even second half, before Dings grabbed their second score of the match on 57 minutes.
James Oakley's initial break provided the field position required for Dings to launch an assault on the Hartpury try line.
The visitors, who boast the league's best defensive record, managed to hold Dings up in-goal twice, but it proved a case of third time lucky for the Crusaders as Adam Bellamy touched down to reduce the deficit to eight points.
Cozens continued his fine kicking form, however, and he struck a further three penalties in eight minutes to punish Dings' indiscipline and put his side 35-18 clear with 11 minutes remaining.
Dings secured a consolation try through prop Josh Lloyd's close range effort, Woodrow's conversion being the last act.
DINGS CRUSADERS: R Dempsey; J Oakley, M Brooker, S Cox, J Nowell; M Woodrow, S Plummer; M Hudd, D Wheeler (A Bellamy 23), J Lloyd; E Hack, D Bufton; J Joyce (S Uren 62), S Williams, J Luck Unused reps: M Flook, T Stevens, J Clark
HARTPURY: C Jackson; A O'Meara, A Dancer, S Rodwell (T Stevenson 74), I Clark; L Cozens, B Field (C Stuart-Smith 74); J Gibbons (R Cano 68), C O'Connell (L Grinsell 76), D Crompton; B Walker, S Raven; G Mills (S Pitchford 71), L Wilkinson, N Thomas
Referee: Jonathan Healy (RFU)