- Hartpury and Prince Henry's set for final showdown
- St Paul's and Oaklands ousted in semis
Photo: Hartpury College
The 2014 AASE League final will be between Prince Henry’s and defending champions Hartpury after they both came through semi-finals with wins.
In Leeds on Wednesday, St Paul's Catholic College were edged out 18-15 thanks to a last-minute try from Prince Henry’s replacement Jordan Poole.
The young London Irish-affiliated team had taken the lead for the first time in the match five minutes earlier through England Under 18 hooker Ollie Adams, but were denied at the death.
The hosts, with the wind at their backs in the first half, went into an early lead thanks to two penalty goals from wing Nick Rawsthorne.
The hosts defended valiantly and managed to halt the St Paul's attack but the first try came from a great turnover.
St Paul's went through the phases before the ball was spun wide to Tim Gittens who dived in at the corner to cut the deficit to one point. Buoyed by their first try, St Paul's continued to attack and again got very close to the hosts’ line.
However, a great defensive effort from the Prince Henry’s forward pack saw the ball turned over and passed out wide quickly. Taking advantage of a lack of organisation in the St Paul’s defence, the hosts created the overlap and the ball was passed to Dan Tai who sprinted over.
The conversion drifted wide but the hosts led 11-5. That is how it remained until half time. St Paul's had the wind at their backs in the second half and took full advantage.
They spent the majority of the third quarter camped on the opposition line and turned pressure into points. Connor Murphy kicked a penalty on 60 minutes to cut the lead to just three points with 15 minutes remaining.
Shortly afterwards, Prince Henry's had a player sent to the sin bin for tackling a St Paul’s player before he received the ball. The Exiles took full advantage of the man advantage and just before full-time Ollie Adams broke away from a driving maul to score a try that took St Paul's into the lead. Connor Murphy converted to make it 15-11.
With five minutes to go Prince Henry's put the ball into Irish territory and were awarded a free kick when the referee judged Murphy to have fed the ball into the scrum.
Time was running out and with four minutes left they broke down the flank and came within inches of the line. The ball was recycled and passed to Jordan Poole, who had come on as a replacement, who went through the line and stepped the full back to score. Rawsthorne kicked the conversion to cinch an 18-15 victory.
Prince Henry’s will be joined in the final by defending champions Hartpury, who beat the side they beat in last year’s final, Oaklands, 34-7.
Hartpury won thanks to a brace from Henry Harper, along with tries from George Edgson, Tom Griffiths and Jack Thomas.
In the plate competition, Filton will play Truro College in an all Southern Conference affair. Filton beat Myerscough 29-17 thanks to tries from Josh Daly, Andy Uren, Jake Polledri, Chay Smith and a penalty try. Truro were awarded a bye after Moulton College were unable to field a team.
In the bowl, Gosforth Academy will play Worcester Sixth Form College. Gosforth beat Ivyrbridge 34-7 with Cory Carney, James Cooney, Mike Searle, Callum Thompson and Dan Marshal crossing for the AASE League newbies. Worcester Sixth Form College who beat Henley College 20-15.