Honours even as Hartpury manage to stifle the All Blacks
HARTPURY's College's winning start to the season is over after they were held to a stalemate by a stubborn Cornish All Blacks side at Polson Bridge.
The All Blacks, seeking their first victory of the campaign, began the match on the front foot and opened the scoring through a Kieron Lewitt penalty on eight minutes.
But Hartpury responded in the most emphatic style as they snatched the lead from the restart.
Brad Field dinked a neat grubber kick towards the corner flag after Seb Rodwell's half-break and after a kind bounce Sean Marsden set Jack Hayes free to finish.
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Craig Jackson missed the extras but then scored two penalties to one from Lewitt as Hartpury assumed a five-point advantage with neither side dominating.
The All Blacks offered more of a threat towards the end of the first period.
Richard Bright had a try chalked off for placing a foot in touch as the interval approached, although Lewitt's third penalty provided a small consolation.
The visitors emerged for the second half with Brandon Walker in place of the injured Sam Raven, and the South African made an immediate impact by scoring his side's second try.
The hosts managed to halt a menacing driving maul inches from the try line as Hartpury smelt blood.
But the Cornishmen were powerless to prevent flanker Walker from squirming over the whitewash, with Jackson again off-target with the kick.
The home side were level within four minutes when Lewitt superbly converted Nielson Webber's try from the touchline after the scrum half had rounded the Hartpury defence from a tapped penalty.
Jake Murphy subsequently slotted a tidy drop goal to edge the All Blacks in to a 19-16 lead, but Hayes hit back to regain the lead with his second try after a Steph Reynolds run.
Crucially, Jackson's conversion attempt cannoned back off the woodwork, but the uprights later saved his blushes when his straightforward penalty slammed off the inside of the post before dropping just the right side of the crossbar.
The visitors had to settle for a draw, however, as popular All Black prop Tim Mathias barrelled over from close range 11 minutes from time after a lineout drive.
CORNISH ALL BLACKS: K Lewitt; R Bright, L Paterson, S Chapman, L Tidball (L Yeo 45); J Murphy, N Webber; T Mathias, T Hurdwell, N Bayliss; B Hilton, J Tripcony (BJ Chapman 58); M Rawlings, T Rawlings (BJ Chapman 47-52), J Lord. Unused reps: M Roache, A Meredith, M Kneebone
HARTPURY: S Marsden; J Hayes, C Jackson, S Rodwell, S Reynolds; B Burns, B Field (C Stuart-Smith 54); D Crompton, C Fortey, C Thorne (J Gibbons 18); W Graulich, S Raven (B Walker 41); R Moriarty, N Thomas, H Casson. Unused reps: H Collins, G Boulton
Referee: Richard Kelly (RFU)