- St. Pauls beat Truro and Henley to start the year
- Win for Worcester, Oaklands, Prince Henry's and Hartpury too
Photo: Getty Images
A scattered start to 2014 has seen wins for Worcester Sixth Form College, Oaklands College, Prince Henry’s, Filton, Hartpury and St. Paul’s, who have tasted victory twice.
The most significant result came in the form of a 24-7 win for St. Paul’s against Truro College last Wednesday, in a match that was pivotal for the play-off hopes of both sides.
With the sun shining and Maidenhead's artificial turf providing a flawless playing surface, the conditions were perfect for an open game of rugby.
Truro came out firing from kick-off looking to catch St Paul's cold. However, the London Irish AASE side's defence more than met the challenge and was resolute all afternoon.
Both sides lacked a clinical edge in the first half, with simple handling errors nullifying attacking threats throughout.
The deadlock was eventually broken when Max Berry barged his way over following a storming carry from prop Jerome Trail. Murphy added the extras to make give his team a 7-0 half-time lead.
St Paul's found themselves down to 14 men shortly after the break, with the outstanding second row Oliver Curry sent to the bin after a series of infringements from his teammates.
St Paul's withstood the pressure before doubling their tally at the other end when a clever kick grubber-kick through the pressing Truro defence was collected by Reuben Norville, who stumbled while collecting the ball just short of the line. Quick ball was generated at the breakdown and spread to centre John Williams who dived over. Murphy converted to take the score to 14-0.
A further Murphy penalty took the score to 17-0, but replacement Adam Hughes collected a loose pass and raced some 40 metres for the try to cross for the away side and give Truro a life-line at 17-7.
Their comeback was short lived as Murphy first slotted another penalty, and then produced a superb line break to set up captain Elliot Cox for the London Irish AASE's third try. That win followed up a 26-10 win against Henley College.
Hartpury College have also secured a semi-final spot following a thumping 60-7 win against Henley last Wednesday.
There was a brace for Sam Westcott along with tries for Kai Little, Max Morris, James Neal, Tom Griffiths, Matt Edwards, Matt Protheroe and Harry Wilson.
Head coach Sean Marden said: “It will be good to have three games on the bounce as it will help with continuity. We’re not thinking about the semis yet as we have two important games to finish off.”
Filton College could yet sneak into the play-offs should they beat St. Paul’s on Wednesday. They recorded a 42-15 bonus point win against Ivybridge last Wednesday.
Filton crossed through Adam Francis (2), Brad Kislingbury, Elias Caven, Dan Rees and Kieran Ward and will have to hope St. Paul’s take nothing from the game on Wednesday in order to give themselves the best chance of securing that play-off spot.
Head coach George Tavner said:"This was our first AASE game back together as a squad for a while so it was a very pleasing result.
“In truth the performance was a bit rusty but credit to Ivybridge they put us under a lot of pressure particularly in the second half.
“We are under no illusions that we will have to step it up against Irish next week but the boys are focused on the challenge that awaits them. I think it will be a cracking game."
Prince Henry’s have secured a semi-final spot too, and remain unbeaten after they recorded an impressive 70-9 win against Moulton College. The win also guarantees the Yorkshire side a home semi-final.
Oaklands' first win of 2014 came as they beat Gosforth 27-10 last month. The win puts Oaklands in the driving seat for the play-off spot ahead of Myerscough, who fell to Worcester Sixth Form College 13-10.