Worcester Warriors scored eight tries on their way to victory at Sixways last Saturday and, although there was clearly a gap in class between the sides, the match was somewhat less one-sided than the scoreline suggests.
With the majority of their dual-registered players getting some level of involvement for Gloucester Rugby in Belfast and a few players out injured, Hartpury were not at full strength against a strong Premiership selection, Worcester fielding two largely separate fifteens in each half of the game.
Hartpury started well, with early drives through the forwards eventually bringing a successful shot at goal for returning fly-half Luke Cozens, but the hosts were in front shortly afterwards as talented young centre Ollie Lawrence picked a good line through the visiting midfield.
Driven lineouts then provided two tries for England squad member, hooker Jack Singleton, before Hartpury, enjoying a good spell of possession, were able to create an overlap for young flanker Max Clementson to go over.
Wales international winger Josh Adams was next on the scoresheet after an incisive Warriors attack from deep.
Hartpury matched their hosts by making wholesale changes throughout the second half and, despite some good moments, were largely second best as Warriors ran in four more scores, two of them to young back-row man Ted Hill.
There was a spell of pressure in the Warriors 22 around midway through the half, but Hartpury lacked the cutting edge needed to break down the premiership-level home defence.
There was consolation in the final 10 minutes however as Hartpury belatedly gained some level of control in the game.
Winger Elias Caven showed a good step and sharp pace to make a long range break, before being dragged down by the Worcester cover, 15 metres short of the line. Hartpury managed to maintain the pressure on this occasion and a successful lineout gave young Bristol Bears academy fly half Nathan Chamberlain, an incoming first year student at Hartpury, the opportunity to step his way impressively through the Warriors rear-guard.
The dose was repeated shortly afterwards when, after hammering at the Warriors line, the ball was moved right for winger Ed Sheldon to wander over un-touched.
Nobody was too down-hearted at the final whistle and there were certainly some positives to be taken from the fixture. The Hartpury forwards fronted up well against a physically bigger Warriors pack and, particularly with the starting combinations, the lineout looked to be generally efficient.
Despite being under pressure for periods in the first half, the opening half-back combination of Cozens and scrum-half Richard Bolt were able to work a number of good exits. After the break, despite all the changes, a number of individuals showed up well, many of them the younger players who are more likely to be playing university rugby this season. Flanker Rob Langley (pictured, off-loading) was excellent throughout his time on the field.
Worcester, on the other hand, had the power and clinical finishing needed to collect their tries, a number of which came from long range attacks through the three-quarters.
Hartpury now move on to another pre-season fixture at local National 1 side, newly-promoted Cinderford, before a final week of preparation prior to the opening Championship fixture, versus Yorkshire Carnegie, on Friday 31st August (7.45pm).