THREE key injuries cost Coventry dear away at Hartpury College on Saturday as Scott Morgan’s side slipped to their ninth defeat of the season in National League One.
It was always going to be a difficult afternoon for the visitors with Joe Foreman and George Tresidder making their debuts, while Tipi Kivalu was also drafted in.
And while Coventry fell to a 26-17 defeat, all three players played their part in keeping Hartpury down to just two tries in what was a couragous Coventry performance.
The visitors found themselves behind needlessly early on when for the second week running the initial kick-off was knocked on and from a scum soon after home captain Rob Shaw was able to score from a penalty.
Shaw scored again on seven minutes to put Hartpury 6-0 ahead before Coventry went in front from their first real entry into home territory.
An excellent Cliffie Hodgson punt into the wind landed deep into the home 22 and from the resulting line out Matt Price claimed his seventh try of the season, which Hodgson converted for 6 -7.
It was a lead Coventry were to enjoy for just four minutes though as the hosts hit back with an equally emphatic catch and drive sending hooker James Stephenson over for the try and Shaw converted the extras.
Hartpury were proving a handful with ball in hand and the Coventry defence kept them at bay until the 36th minute when the Blue & Whites conceded a second try in disappointing fashion.
Jacques Le Roux lost possession and home fly half Jabob Perry gratefully acctepted with Shaw adding the extras with ease for 20-7.
There was still time for Coventry to score perhaps the best try of the match to cut the deficit to six points at half-time.
Tipi Kivala began the move and Le Roux continued the attack before Hodgson was able to claim his first try of the season which he duly converted.
The hosts enjoyed more of the possession in the second half as Coventry struggled to put more than two phases together and Hartpury’s kicking out of hand proved to be far more effective.
Hodgson closed the gap to just three points eight minutes after the re-start but he missed two further penalties whereas Shaw was on targets with two of his won to wrap up a 26-17 win for Hartpury.