- Eight teams in the hunt for AASE League glory
- AASE festival winners St. Paul's edge tight game against Filton
Following the sun-soaked AASE festival last week, the AASE League campaign kicked off for eight teams across a slightly damper UK.
At a drenched Sunbury on Wednesday evening, the two unbeaten teams from that festival, St. Paul’s and Filton met for a fiery and competitive encounter under lights.
A tight affair was ultimately decided by a 10-minute period just after half-time for St. Paul’s, who finished 22-7 winners. Fly half Joe Gwyther, a calm and assured presence all game, read a Filton pass barely a couple of minutes into the half to intercept and run in under the posts.
Gwyther's try then saw momentum swing heavily in St. Paul's favour, and full back Elliot Cox scored a real gem of a try moments later.
Strong running by imposing lock, Ollie Adams, saw St. Paul's bulldoze their way towards the Filton line and wing Cameron Cowell floated a beautiful pass for Cox to score.
Filton centre Lucas Slowik, who had opened the scoring early in the game with a skilful chip and pick up, was one of the two Filton players to be sent to the bin along with flanker Jake Polledri.
St. Paul's saw captain Ryan Bifield and lock Adams sent to the bin in return. Despite the disappointing conclusion, both sides showed enough to suggest they will have a big say come the business end of the season.
With Hartpury, Filton and St. Paul's all in the south league, a fierce battle for the top two play-off spots is envisaged.
St. Paul's Head of Rugby Giselle Mather said: “You can't have it all your own way in these situations. We had a real mix of year 12s and 13s in the side, and at half-time they really took on the messages and showed with hard work and listening what they can do.
"Filton are a very good side and traditionally we always have a real hum-dinger with them, and that was the case tonight, so to come out on top leaves us in a very good place going to Ivybridge next week."
Defending champions Hartpury got their first Southern League campaign off to an impressive start with a 64-14 win at Ivybridge. Wing Maxx Morris scored four tries, Joe Batley two whilst Kai Little, Sid Blackmore, Ed Nicholls and Matt Protheroe all bagged a try apiece.
Director of Rugby at Hartpury, Sean Marsden, commented: “I’m obviously very pleased with the start but we’ve a lot to work on for next week.”
Elsewhere in the South, Truro College recorded a useful 14-5 away win at Henley College thanks to a try from full back Noah Sixton, and three penalties from Joel Matavesi whose brother and former Truro College boy Josh played and scored for Worcester Warriors at Welford Road on Saturday.
Head coach Marek Churcher added: “Any away win is a good win for us, especially against Henley, who we haven’t beaten at their place since Jack Nowell and Luke Cowan-Dickie were here when their programme was at Twyford.”
Moving North, and Gosforth Academy won their first ever competitive AASE League match 18-14 at home to Worcester Sixth Form College thanks to two tries from Joe Craggs, and a third from Harry Borthwick.
A clearly pleased head of the AASE rugby programme at Gosforth Peter Butler said: "It was great to get a win in our first ever AASE League game, too many unforced errors meant we played without the ball for the majority of the first half but we defended well and showed a huge amount of courage and self-belief to come back the way we did and score three tries in the last 20 minutes of the game."
Copy courtesy of inattheside.com