Hartpury RFC 16 Yorkshire Carnegie 5
By Jack Conlon
Yorkshire Carnegie couldn’t manage to get their 2018 Greene King IPA Championship campaign off to a winning start, after going down 16-5 against Hartpury on a frustrating night at College Stadium.
Errors plagued Chris Stirling’s side all evening, with Yorkshire having the greater share of possession but being unable to make use of it.
New signings Brendan Cope, JB Bruzulier and Dan Moor all stood out but were ultimately unable to get the better of a strong Hartpury side.
Cope, Bruzulier and Moor were three of six debutants named, with Stirling also including Jake Ilnicki, Rowan Jenkins and Dan Temm for the first time.
The home side started quicker, opening the scoring after just five minutes. A Carnegie mistake allowed Hartpury to break downfield, before Matt Gilbert hit a good gap and powered past Chris Elder to reach the line. Luke Cozens converted to make it 7-0.
Carnegie were able to find the field position throughout the first half but couldn’t capitalise. Good runs from Josh Bainbridge and Chris Elder saw them break into the Hartpury half but handling errors were often soon to follow.
Hartpury managed to extend their lead by 10 minutes before the break through a Cozens penalty goal. Carnegie had initially won a penalty but the referee overturned it after a scuffle broke out after the whistle. Cozens stepped up and made no mistake from right in front of the posts.
Brendan Cope had the opportunity to kick a penalty goal of his own for Carnegie but was unlucky to see his effort rifle off the post and fall into Hartpury hands.
The visitors did have a late chance with the half’s last play, when a penalty led to a good drive forward into the Hartpury half, but a breakdown at the ruck saw it come to nothing as the referee blew for halftime.
Hartpury picked up where they left off after the break and almost instantly extended their lead. A penalty 40m out from the Carnegie line for holding at the ruck gave Cozens a chance to kick at goal, to which he duly obliged to make it 13-0.
Carnegie saw themselves given a slight advantage five minutes later, after a strongly won scrum was followed by a yellow card for Hartpury no.8 Iain Grieve. With an extra man on the field, Carnegie started to find space and came fairly close after a making a break downfield on the back of some lovely footwork from Cope. Handling was again the problem, however, as the ball was spilled on the following play.
With Hartpury back to a full complement of players, Carnegie saw themselves camped on the opposition line and soon managed to capitalise. A series of scrums saw the ball moved down the short side, where some quick hands from Andy Forsyth saw Canadian debutant Dan Moor dive over in the corner. Cope was unable to convert, leaving the deficit at eight points.
The home side again managed to sway the game back in their favour, though, with Cozens taking his goal tally for the night to four. Hartpury were given a penalty on the Carnegie 22m line and the fly half made no mistake to take the score to 16-5.
With time running out, Carnegie’s only other chance came with final play of the game as Elder broke down the field against the run of play. His offload, however, was spilled by the supporting player to allow the referee to blow his fulltime whistle.
Hartpury: 15 Ben Foley, 14 Ed Sheldon, 13 Luke Eves, 12 James Forrester, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Luke Cozens, 9 Richard Bolt, 1 Dan Murphy, 2 Luke Stratford, 3 Rupert Harden, 4 Alex Craig, 5 Simon Linsell (c), 6 Rob Langley, 7 Matt Gilbert, 8 Iain Grieve. Subs: 16 Will Crane, 17 Des Merry, 18 Alex Gibson, 19 Will Safe, 20 James Stephenson, 21 Harry Cochrane, 22 Nathan Chamberlain.
Carnegie: 15 Chris Elder, 14 George Watkins, 13 Andy Forsyth, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Dan Moor, 10 Brendan Cope, 9 JB Bruzulier, 1 Rowan Jenkins, 2 Joe Buckle, 3 Jake Ilnicki, 4 Richard Beck, 5 Matt Smith, 6 Josh Bainbridge, 7 Richard Mayhew (c), 8 Dan Temm. Subs: 16 Charlie Gibbings, 17 James Thraves, 18 Ewan McQuillin, 19 Elliot Ward, 20 Lewis Wilson, 21 Oli Fox, 22 Tom Bullough.
Tries: Matt Gilbert (5’)
Conversions: Luke Cozens
Penalties: Luke Cozens (30’, 42’, 66’)
Tries: Dan Moor (15’)
Referee: Andrew Jackson