Hartpury College 54 Macclesfield 10

Macclesfield travelled south to face a fellow newly-promoted side in Hartpury College.

The college had been in fine form of late, picking up a big win against Richmond and they followed it up with a 54-10 thumping of the Blues.

This is the college team’s first season in English rugby’s third tier and the reigning National Two South champions ran riot over their northern division counterparts, who are finding life back in League One torturous.

The visitors got off to a blistering start, as leading try scorer Matt King pounced onto a clever kick that had been put behind the defence by centre Matt O’Regan (below) to put Macc in front with barely two minutes on the clock.


But Macclesfield couldn’t hang onto their lead as the hosts responded immediately from the kick-off, regaining possession and shipping the ball out wide for winger Steph Reynolds to score.

With the Blues failing to take advantage of the strong winds and keep good territory, they found themselves under pressure as Hartpury dominated possession, and a rising penalty count.

On 25 minutes, prop Shane Heffernan was sent to the sin bin and just moments later, scrum-half Jordan Brookes followed him.

Hartpury took advantage of two extra men immediately as they had a five-metre scrum which soon ended in a deserved try and a 14-5 lead which they took into the break.

A very one-sided second half was to follow in which Hartpury would run in six tries.

The first of these came within a minute, as they collected the kick-off deep in their own half but using pace and creativity were soon underneath the Blues’ sticks to extend their lead.

The next Hartpury try came seven minutes later, again with confidence to run the ball from their own half, the hosts carved up the Macclesfield defence to score and secure their bonus point, establishing a 23-point lead.

With just their third visit to the Macc half of the second period, Hartpury added their third score, keeping the ball alive and exhausting a staggered Macclesfield defence to go over once again and make it 35-5.

A moment of individual brilliance from young replacement fly-half, Matt Protheroe took the hosts’ score past 40.

What was intended to be a blue wall of defence proved no obstacle to the young man who weaved in and out of the onrushing Macclesfield tacklers to dive in under the posts for a 42-5 lead.

On 73 minutes, Hartpury scored another fantastic team try to make it 49-5, running the ball from deep and working it wide to bypass the Blues’ tiring defence.

Hartpury’s final score of a painful afternoon for the Blues came on 77 minutes when the Hartpury skipped charge down a clearance and pounced on the loose ball.

Billy Robinson grabbed a late consolation for the beleaguered Blues, charging over from a few metres out to make the final score 54-10 on another tough afternoon for the Blues.

The Blues host the division’s other promoted side this weekend. Tenth-placed Darlington Mowden Park travel to Priory Park as Macclesfield continue to search for their first home win of the season.