Five-star Hartpury in title boost
HARTPURY issued an ominous warning to their promotion rivals as they demolished fellow high-fliers Shelford.
They defied the showers to play some sublime running rugby and grab five tries to move level on points with league leaders Henley Hawks.
Luke Cozens' penalty edged the hosts in front, but Shelford pressure brought a yellow card for Sean Marsden.
Hartpury extended their lead after the full-back's return to the field on 28 minutes.
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The forwards recycled the ball through three phases, before Seb Rodwell crashed on to Cozens' pass to glide in for a try, improved by Cozens.
Brad Field doubled Hartpury's try tally four minutes later and Cozens converted superbly.
Cozens added a second penalty to hand Hartpury an unanswered 20-point advantage at the break.
But the fly-half watched in horror at the start of the second period as centre Steve Smith charged down his kick to race home near the posts and convert his own score.
Shelford lost openside Jason Billows and replacement lock Dane Grey to the sin bin in the space of a minute for repeated infringements.
The bonus point seemed to have eluded Hartpury as a Cozens penalty was the sole further punishment dealt out to the away side.
But the hosts' Alex Woodburn touched down almost as soon as Shelford were restored to their full complement.
The coveted fourth try was secured when Steph Reynolds finished a counter-attack five minutes from time, Tim Stevenson striking the conversion.
Hartpury scored again when Rodwell barged over from close range, Stevenson slotting the extras with the final kick of the match.
HARTPURY COLLEGE: S Marsden; S Reynolds, A Dancer, S Rodwell, I Clark; L Cozens (T Stevenson 70), B Field (C Stuart-Smith 70); J Gibbons, C Fortey (C O'Connell 60), D Crompton (R Cano 70); W Graulich, S Raven; J Head (A Woodburn 46), G Mills, N Thomas.
SHELFORD: A Kelsall; S Chiwang, S Smith, T Bakoso, M Johnston (P MacBride 46); P Baird, R Stevens; M Anderson (A Boyce 76), L Beales, M Gregerson (N Arnold 60); A Hutchinson (D Grey 48), R Newberry; S Jackowski (G Perry 70), J Billows, A Lea
Referee: Alexis Manley (RFU)