Indiscipline punished as kickers put boot in
JAKE Murphy's last-minute penalty was enough for Launceston to condemn Hartpury to their second defeat of the season.
Despite dominating large periods of the first half in damp conditions at Polson Bridge, Hartpury trailed 9-3 at the break as Murphy and Kieron Lewitt combined to punish the college side from the tee.
The visitors outscored their opponents two tries to nil after the restart, but their indiscipline continued to undo their hard work in attack after the restart and fly half Murphy struck four further penalties to hand the Cornish All Blacks victory.
Hartpury started this match where they left off in the impressive 14-man victory over Cambridge last week and Billy Burns, who kicked 14 points in that match, opened the scoring with a touchline penalty on four minutes.
Burns spurned an easier opportunity to double his side's lead 10 minutes later as he pushed a shot wide, while home fullback Lewitt made no mistake from a similar position to restore parity.
Burns then missed with his third attempt on goal before the game was delayed by 15 minutes as Lewitt was stretchered off with a head injury, leaving Murphy to assume the kicking duties.
Tempers began to fray at the end of a disjointed first half littered with handling errors and Murphy slotted his maiden effort after Hartpury were deemed responsible for a skirmish, kicking another on the half-time whistle.
But the visitors did not have to wait long to regain the ascendancy as Steve Leonard registered the first try of the match six minutes after the interval.
Launceston number eight Mike Rawlings lost control of the ball from a scrum on the All Blacks' own 22, presenting Hartpury with an excellent attacking platform that was exploited fully by centre Leonard, who ghosted over under the posts.
Hartpury, however, failed to claim the restart and granted the hosts field position, which swiftly resulted in a yellow card for captain Chris Fortey and three more points for Murphy.
The Gloucestershire outfit were in determined mood and struck back within four minutes, with Jaike Carter gathering Craig Jackson's neat chip and grounding expertly in the corner.
Burns' and Murphy's kicking duel continued as the latter converted two penalty kicks to the former's one, leaving the score line delicately poised at 18-18 as the game entered the final five minutes.
The turning point finally arrived when Hartpury's Alec Clarey was sin-binned less than a minute after replacing Wayne Thompson, the prop somewhat fortunate to escape greater sanction for a tip-tackle.
The visitors were duly subjected to an onslaught as the seconds ticked down and eventually conceded a penalty that Murphy nailed to snatch the win.
Launceston: K Lewitt (N Webber 26); R Friend, R Westren, L Paterson, S Chapman; J Murphy, L Webb; T Mathias, J Salter, N Bayliss; BJ Chapman (C Courtier 75), J Tripcony; J Duke, T Rawlings, M Rawlings. Not used: J Keats, B Jenkins, M Kneebone
Hartpury: C Jackson; S Reynolds, S Leonard, G Boulton, J Carter; B Burns, M Spencer (B Vellacott 47); R Cano, C Fortey (W Tanner 68), W Thompson (A Clarey 75); J Batley, S Pitchford; L Ludlow, A Woodburn (K Frowen 26), T MacDonald (W Tanner 57-61, W Thompson 78). Not used: R Haile
Referee: Luke Haskins (RFU)