The Reds produced a fine display in securing five league points to back up the impressive win at Richmond and erase the disappointment of a below-par performance in their previous outing on home turf.
TJ Harris claimed a hat-trick of tries as Hartpury paid the price for a high penalty count and had to be content with two consolation tries in the final quarter.
The result meant the Reds remained in third position in the Championship table, level with Cornish Pirates but ranked lower as a result of fewer wins. Ealing Trailfinders stayed top, setting up a first-v-third clash when the Reds visit Vallis Way on Saturday week.
Playing with a strong breeze at their backs, the visitors took the lead when James Williams slotted a 37-metre penalty in the fourth minute.
Jersey’s first two attempts to unleash their rolling maul were successfully countered by the Hartpury pack, but at the third time of asking Harris steered the maul over, and then repeated the feat with the last play of the half.
The Reds, playing in a new-look black change strip for the first time, also came out strongly after the break, and a powerful run by Dan Barnes took him across the try-line, in spite of the attentions of two defenders.
Having also been flawless with his lineout-throwing, Harris was able to complete a satisfying afternoon’s work with a hat-trick try from another maul before being replaced.
Although Sam Leeming added a penalty after being blocked by Charlie Foley, Jersey’s progress was checked by a yellow card for James Flynn on the hour as a result of persistent offending by his side. The visitors took advantage as Cameron Jordan barged over, and soon afterwards Harry Short was held up over the line.
Restored to their full complement, the Reds pushed for another score and found it when Ryan Olowofela scorched down the right flank, drew the last defender and released Brendan Owen for a dash to the line.
Hartpury had the last word, scoring the best try of the game in the final play as silky handling ended with Josh Gray crossing, but head coach Mark Cornwell was disappointed with outcome.
“You know what Jersey are going to do and you need to take that away from them,” he said. “We were competitive for periods of the game, but ill-discipline, some losses of concentration and a few missed tackles cost us.”
Director of rugby Harvey Biljon was delighted with both the defensive and attacking elements of his Red team’s display.
“Our defensive sets and control during the first half were exceptional, and then we were able to put pressure on Hartpury and gain field position in order to score points,” he said.
“Our half-backs and set piece were key to controlling the game and we’re pleased to get another five points.”
Pictures: Jacquie Ranieri & Sue Armes
JERSEY REDS: Simmons (Owen B 65), Olowofela, Roberts, Barnes, Brown; Leeming (Pittman 71), Mitchell (Elliott 61); Flynn (YC 60, Owen H 70), Harris (Clarke 55), Longwell (Higgins 67), O’Connor, Cook, Argyle (Humfrey 65), Wynne (capt), White (Thompson 55).
HARTPURY UNIVERSITY: Foley B; Smith S (Tovey 53), Smith R, Foley C, Bailey; Williams, Bruzulier (capt) (Jones 67); Maguire (Adkins 63), Stratford (Crane 50), Knight (Benz-Solomon 55), Scott (Lemon 63), Jordan, Dun, Hastings (Short 50), Fenner (Gray 55).
REFEREE: Alex Thomas. Assistants: Adam Wookey, Nick Marshall
Half Time: 10-3
Tries: Harris 22, 39, 54, Barnes 41, Owen 70
Conversions: Leeming 41, 54
Penalty: Leeming 56
Tries: Jordan 62, Gray 80
Conversions: Williams 62, 80
Penalty: Williams 4
18 May 2023
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