Hartpury College 48 Redruth 12
REDRUTH played some decent rugby at times, but they were no match for the league leaders who were on the top of their game to send the depleted Reds to their biggest defeat of the season.
With four games to go, Redruth are now left looking anxiously at the foot of the table, with Exmouth already relegated and Bournemouth hanging on grimly, the third relegation slot could fall to any one of five clubs – Dings Crusaders, Cornish All Blacks, Chinnor, London Irish Wild Geese or the Reds.
Looking at the remaining fixtures, the outcome of the Wild Geese's visit to Chinnor this week and the CAB's games with Dings and the Wild Geese will have a big influence in the outcome, but only if the Reds can somehow get between six and eight points from their remaining fixtures.
Head coach Ashley Morcom was happy with the commitment and effort a patched up side put in on despite the heavy defeat.
He said: "The boys played well in to the wind in the first half. We conceded ten points early on but them stuck with them. We had a little bit of a lull for three minutes and let them in for two tries. Apart from that we stuck it to them.
"In the second half we were a little bit under powered up front and it told in the end. We called on players to play out of position and they gave it everything but we were overpowered.
"You can see why Hartpury are top of the table, there are reasons and they showed that today. They had three tries from turnovers, we coughed the ball up and they caught us napping when we over committed on moves and capitalised.
"It is all about moving forward now, we came hoping to take a point we came close a couple of times but we have to move on now. We have got four tough games to go, we are really looking forward to Ampthill on Saturday, it was one of the first trips we did in mini-buses up and back in a day. We stuck with them for 65 minutes and we fell away in the last quarter."
With Luke Collins not expected to play again this season and Damien Cook resting an injury, Redruth paired skipper Chris Fuca and Mike Allen in the second row and Matt Gidlow in the back row in place of Jake Rayment.
The tone of the game was set in the opening minutes as Redruth played into a stiff, cold wind against a strong Hartpury side of whom half a dozen are not students.
Redruth had the ball for the opening minutes, but could not break the line as they went from side to side and when Hartpury turned the ball over, Gloucester starlet Stef Reynolds had space to run in a try from the half way line that Billy Burns converted.
From the restart, Hartpury were back on the attack and Burns was able to kick a straight forward penalty to build open up a ten point lead after just four minutes.
For the next 25 minutes, Redruth played some good rugby with Luke Jones and Greg Goodfellow having a couple of good runs, and stayed with a strong side, but two tries in quick succession meant it was game over before half time.
First from a quickly-taken free kick from just outside the 22, Scotland U20 scrum half Ben Vellacott fed the old Gloucester favourite Samoan Terry Fanolua who took the ball at pace to run in a try from 30 metres that Burns converted.
A poor restart, gave Hartpury the chance to attack again, with Craig Jackson touching down an unconverted try as Redruth went into the break trailing by 22 points.
At the start of the second period good play from Jackson and Burns in a length of the field move ended with Vellacott touching down the bonus point try.
Fuca played on despite taking a heavy blow to the neck as Redruth never caved in and played some good rugby with Sam Parsons paving the way for Craig Bonds to touchdown the reds first try.
As the game wore on the Reds scrum was struggling. They put in plenty of effort, but could not match the pace or speed of thought of Hartpury who took their chances with turnover ball to run in long distance tries.
A powerful driving maul from the 22 metre line saw Hartpury captain Chris Fortey go over for a try after 57 minutes that was quickly followed by a length of the field effort from Reynolds. Some good cover from Tom Notman prevented the flying Reynolds from completing his hat-trick.
A kind bounce from a probing kick by Jackson wrong footed the cover as Alex Woodburn touched down the home side's seventh try after 73 minutes. In the final play of the day some spirited play by the Reds ended with John Stevens running 30 metres for a try, which Ashley Hosking converted.