Ran­dall hat-trick helps Hart­pury slay the Knights

The Rugby Paper - - News - ■ By AN­DREW BEACHAM

THIS felt like the day when Hart­pury fi­nally ar­rived as a Cham­pi­onship side.

In a pul­sat­ing en­counter, they got their re­ward for long pe­ri­ods of pres­sure when scrum-half Harry Ran­dall, so of­ten their star man, man­aged to sneak over on the back of a pow­er­ful for­ward drive.

In that mo­ment he won the game, se­cured the bonus point and com­pleted a per­sonal hat-trick, but this was far from be­ing a one-man show.

Af­ter a strong open­ing 15 min­utes from the visi­tors, it was the Glouces­ter­shire team who dom­i­nated ter­ri­tory and pos­ses­sion against one of the league’s high fliers. Two tries in ei­ther half, the last com­ing with just one minute re­main­ing, to three from Don­caster, were just enough.

In al­most per­fect con­di­tions, Knights were quicker out of the blocks and had the bet­ter of the open­ing ex­changes, con­trol­ling pos­ses­sion and look­ing threat­en­ing.

Iron­i­cally, it was af­ter Hart­pury’s first real at­tack of the match that Knights took the lead. A flimsy tackle in mid­field cre­ated the open­ing and, when the ball was fed to An­drew Bu­lumakau, there was noth­ing to stop the for­mer Hart­pury stu­dent gal­lop­ing un­der the posts.

As Hart­pury have al­ready shown a few times this sea­son, char­ac­ter is not some­thing they lack and they were quickly back on to the front foot.

They were back in the game on 20 min­utes. When phase af­ter phase in the Don­caster 22 even­tu­ally pro­duced the space for full­back Mike Wil­cox to dive over wide out for his first of the sea­son.

Perry’s con­ver­sion was nar­rowly wide but Hart- pury con­tin­ued to have the bet­ter of things. They got their noses in front three min­utes be­fore the break as Ran­dall grabbed his first. Ed Shel­don threat­ened and man­aged to off-load to the sup­port­ing Mat Gil­bert.

His inside ball found Ran­dall in space and the Eng­land U20 man had just enough gas to beat the cov­er­ing tackle of Cur­tis Wil­son.

Hart­pury might have ex­pected to lead at the in­ter­val, but Knights had the last laugh of the half. Good in­ter­play down the nar­row side be­tween Tom James and Ju­nior Bu­lumakau fi­nally saw the Knights scrum-half run in un­touched and when Si­mon Hum­ber­stone again added the ex­tras it was 12-14 to the visi­tors.

They scored again al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter the break. Hart­pury failed to deal with the re-start and a few phases later it was prop for­ward Colin Quigley who rum­bled over.

Crit­i­cally for the hosts they kept the gap to a min­i­mum. Three min­utes later Hart­pury were awarded a penalty close to the Knights posts. Ran­dall, quicker in thought than any­body around him, tapped and was over be­fore Don­caster could bring him down.

Two well-struck Hum­ber­stone penal­ties had Don­caster pulling away, be­fore re­place­ment James Wil­liams kicked one for Hart­pury.

Hart­pury then laid siege for the Don­caster line and Ran­dall’s late hero­ics – on the heels of a fe­ro­cious for­ward ef­fort – snatched the win.

PIC­TURE: Fo­tu­ara

Match-win­ner: Harry Ran­dall com­pletes his hat-trick to see Hart­pury home

Gal­lop­ing in: An­drew Bu­lumakau scores for Knights

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