Hartpury are in seven heaven following National Two South win over Bournemouth
Hartpury College 57-32 Bournemouth
A scintillating seven-try first-half display was enough for Hartpury College to dispatch Bournemouth and keep in touch with the promotion race.
National Two South’s fourth-placed side will be delighted with a showing in the first 50 minutes that ranked among their best this season.
But yet another match in which they allowed a seemingly dead and buried opponent a route back into the contest, with Bournemouth winning the final half-an-hour 29-0 and gaining a four-try bonus point in the process, will remain a great concern.
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Hartpury’s performance in the opening exchanges was electrifying, however, and Seb Rodwell wriggled over in the left-hand corner as the hosts switched the ball from side to side off a scrum as early as the third minute.
Two minutes later, Craig Jackson broke on the right and the ball made its way to Brad Field via Billy Burns for a try underneath the posts that Jackson converted.
The intensity of the Hartpury team was something to behold, and Jackson’s conversion of Darren Crompton’s five-pointer from a catch-and-drive lineout made the score 19-0 before nine minutes had elapsed.
Dan Pollard struck a simple penalty to register the stunned visitors’ first points.
But the respite was only brief as Gareth Evans, making his first appearance of the season on a dual-registration deal with Gloucester, showed his potential to ride four tackles and scamper over for the bonus point score, improved by Jackson.
Hartpury continued to punish their opponents as Liam Wilkinson’s pick-and-go, Field’s dart and Burns’ finish of a sublime length-of-the-field counterattack, in addition to two Jackson conversions, made it 45-3 at the interval.
The demolition resumed after the break as Jackson released Sean Marsden to bring up the half-century, before the two combined again to tee up young centre George Boulton for a converted score on his full debut.
Bournemouth, winless in 2013 and in severe danger of an immediate return to National Division Three, looked set for an embarrassing defeat but their response was admirable as they secured an unlikely bonus point of their own.
Winger Dan Connolly was the first on the score sheet as he squeezed over inside the touchline from a tapped free kick.
Tom Booth then touched down from a driving maul, converted by Pollard, before the latter barged over following Scott Chislett’s carry.
Connolly set up replacement Anthony Fitch with a delightful behind-the-back offload for the coveted fourth try, with hooker Alan Manning grabbing a converted fifth from close range after bowling over referee Jonathan Healy a minute from time.
HARTPURY COLLEGE: C Jackson; S Reynolds (L Cozens 59), G Boulton, S Rodwell, S Marsden; B Burns, B Field (C Stuart-Smith 64); R Cano, C Fortey (L Grinsell 48), D Crompton (C Thorne 53); S Pitchford, W Graulich; T Ailes (G Mills 23), L Wilkinson, G Evans
BOURNEMOUTH: D Pollard; J Robinson (S Hardcastle 48), S Chislett, G Hart, D Connolly; G Drake, S Veneroso; J Burns (R Carrel 48), A Manning, G Firetto (A Fitch 62); T Seward (T Collier 41), C Forrest; F Wilford, J Bovett (T Vaughan-Edwards 41), T Booth
Referee: Jonathan Healy (RFU)