Hartpury’s University Centre’s first team kept up their BUCS Super Rugby winning streak in emphatic fashion as they enjoyed an 11-try feast at home to struggling Northumbria.
Northumbria struck the first blow inside the opening minute with a well-executed drop-goal from fly-half Ruairi Howarth but Hartpury’s riposte was swift, moving the ball at electric pace along the backs for Rhys Tudor to receive on the wing.
Some nifty footwork saw him dance past three defenders to score, with fly-half Sam Leeming converting.
The pressure on the visitors continued to build and the penalties started to mount up, and with Hartpury moving the ball patiently through the phases; quick ball eventually allowed prop Alfie Barron to barge over, Leeming adding the extras.
Northumbria cut the deficit with a penalty from scrum-half James Christie but they were powerless to halt the Hartpury tide, the hosts attempting to get a drive going off a line-out. Although it initially ran aground, second row Jack Sharpley peeled off to touch down. Leeming pulled the conversion.
Hartpury then had to withstand a spell of pressure at a scrum in the shadow of their own line but, with the ball won by the home side, flanker Tom Pashley made some ground off the back and the ball was worked back to centre Jamie Cooke to clear.
Some Harry Cochrane magic almost reaped a Hartpury score as the scrum-half spotted space, accelerating down the touchline off the back of a scrum.
This proved the catalyst for the next try as the Northumbria clearance from the subsequent line-out fell straight into the hands of home winger Tudor, whose break ate up plenty of hard yards, even charging over a second row as he went.
The ball was recycled out of the ruck with Cochrane unleashing quick ball to see number eight Seb Negri and Barron combine to release centre Jamie Forrester, who showed great strength to charge through several would-be tacklers to get to a metre out, with second row Henry Harper securing possession at the subsequent breakdown to barrel over.
Leeming missed the tricky touchline conversion but Hartpury still had time for another before the break, the lively Cochrane finishing off a dazzling backs try featuring some lovely lines of running to touch down an unconverted try and establish a commanding 29-6 Hartpury lead going into the interval.
There was early drama in the second half after an excellent take by hooker Luke Stratford in the face of a crunching tackle. He even got the ball back to Negri, who almost sold an audacious dummy as he scythed through a gaping hole in the centre, but he was felled just short.
The try eventually came on 47 minutes as Hartpury used solid line-out ball as a platform, with the ball moved through Leeming, Forrester, Cooke and full-back Maliq Holden.
He set up ruck ball with Cochrane moving the ball out through Leeming to prop Craig Bachurzewski, who showed surprising speed as well as good strength to get within metres of the line, with the impressive Pashley on his shoulder to claim the score. Leeming converted.
Some poor execution, both in the set plays and in the form of loose passing, frustrated Hartpury for a time but they were in again from a driving line-out on 54 minutes, Bachurzewski grounding the try and Leeming converting.
With Northumbria fading fast, the gaps were opening up and Hartpury were happy to exploit them, Tudor raced over for his second score before Holden sprinted over from almost the halfway, Leeming converting the first.
A sublime try followed as Cooke fed winger James Neal and his perfectly timed pass was floated to Forrester, who cut a lovely line to take the ball at pace and swerve in for a deserved try. Leeming’s conversion looked to have failed but bounced off the crossbar and over.
Northumbria were almost able to fashion a consolation score as centre Aedan Mahoney broke up field, Thomas Cooksey carrying on and offloading to number eight Oliver Robinson but a fine tackle by Hartpury flanker Callum Bowden secured turnover ball.
From that, the hosts put several quick phases together to send the elusive Tudor in for his hat-trick try and set the seal on a 67-6 victory, which keeps Hartpury on the fast track to a potential Twickenham final date as they bid to repeat their 2012 and 2014 triumphs.
Hartpury University Centre 67, Northumbria University 6
Hartpury University Centre: 15 Maliq Holden, 14 Rhys Tudor, 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Jamie Forrester, 11 James Neal, 10 Sam Leeming, 9 Harry Cochrane; 1 Alfie Barron, 2 Luke Stratford, 3 Craig Bachurzewski, 4 Henry Harper, 5 Jack Sharpley, 6 Tom Pashley, 7 Callum Bowden, 8 Seb Negri. Replacements: 16 Will Biggs, 17 Joe Wrafter, 18 Alex Gibson, 19 Sam Easton, 20 Ben Davies, 21 Alex Cox, 22 Olly Allsopp.
Northumbria University: 15 David Elliott, 14 Jonathan Haldane, 13 Luc Simpson Kent, 12 Aedan Mahoney. 11 Charlie Craig, 10 Ruiari Howarth; 9 James Christie (21); 1 George Williams (blank), 2 Thomas Williams, 3 Jake Ellwood, 4 Matthew Solway, 5 Edward Bloodworth, 6 George Bordill, 7 Matthew Jenkinson, 8 Oliver Robinson. Replacements: 16 Henry Mawhood, 17 Louis Musetti, 18 Jamie Ross, 19 Thomas Cooksey, 20 Dom Warby, 21 Charlie Parkhouse, 22 Ryan Murray.
Star man: Jamie Forrester.
Match attendance: 350