There were three games in the Aviva A league last night, each a thriller for one reason or another.
By far and away the most impressive though was Newcastle Falcons A, who notched their fourth win from four with a remarkable 53-29 victory over Gloucester United â€“ how their 1st XV must envy them.
It was a reasonably experienced Newcastle side with the likes of Mike Blair and Andy Saull starting, but peppered with youth such as Jake Ellwood, Tom Penny and James Christie.
Gloucester by contrast were incredibly young, with U20 international at half back and young Will Safe at number 8, and an even younger sub bench, with Harry Bassett, Lloyd Evans and Charlie Norman all on the bench at an average age of 18 between the three of them.
The other two games were less one sided in terms of the scoreline, but were certainly no less entertaining. Bath came from 22-20 down to Saracens to level things at 22 all, however a late Jack Wilson score gave Saracens the win.
It was another game packed with youth players, and with plenty getting on the scoresheet. However it was the captaincy of the teams that was most striking, both sides were led by their 20 year old second rows, Charlie Ewels for Bath, and Maro Itoje for Saracens, their pair were second row partners in England U20s JWC win back in June, clearly they are destined for big things, as indeed is Ewelsâ€™ club second row and their biggest U20s competitor, Tom Ellis. From top to bottom it seems that second row is an area of strength for England.
The final game taking place was at Sixways between Worcester Cavaliers and Northampton Wanderers. Worcester ran out 22-16 winners but that does not tell the full story.
Midway through the first half, Northamptonâ€™s England U18 centre, Harry Mallinder, was shown a straight red for taking out Richard De Carpentier in the air. It was a â€˜letter of the lawâ€™ red rather than a malicious or nasty red, but it meant that Northampton were going to have to fight for the rest of the game.
Fight they did, they very young away side led until the 47th minute when Mat Gilbert crossed the line. It was another game for the youngsters though, with Old Swinford Hospital old boy Huw Taylor one of the outstanding players, having only left school a few months ago, that was quite some achievement.
Aviva A league results:
Bath United 22-27 Saracens Storm
Newcastle Falcons A 53-29 Gloucester United
Worcester Cavaliers 22-16 Northampton Wanderers
15 Rich Lane â€¨14 Matt Banahan â€¨13 Max Clarkâ€¨ 12 Rory Jenningsâ€¨ 11 George Wacokecokeâ€¨ 10 Ollie Devotoâ€¨ 9 Micky Young â€¨1 Nathan CattÂ 2 Ross Batty â€¨3 Kane Palma-NewportÂ â€¨4 Charlie Ewels (c) Â 5 Tom Ellis â€¨6 David Sisi â€¨7 Max Northcote-Greenâ€¨ 8 Tom Woolstencroft.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunnâ€¨ 17 Grant Shiellsâ€¨ 18 Juan Pablo Orlandiâ€¨ 19 Marcus Garrettâ€¨ 20 Matt Koepâ€¨ 21 Will Homerâ€¨ 22 Ludi Hopkinsonâ€¨ 23 Marcus Beer.
15 Ben Ransomâ€¨ 14 Mike Elleryâ€¨ 13 Tom Griffithsâ€¨ 12 Max Wilkinsâ€¨ 11 Jack Wilson â€¨10 Nils Mordtâ€¨ 9 Ben Spencerâ€¨ 1 Tom Williamsâ€¨ 2 Phil Thielâ€¨ 3 Petrus Du Plessisâ€¨ 4 Maro Itoje (c)â€¨ 5 Hayden Smith â€¨6 Hayden Thompson-Stringer â€¨7 Matt Hankinâ€¨ 8 Nick De Jager.
Replacements: 16 Jack Culverhouseâ€¨ 17 Antonio Harrisâ€¨ 18 Biyi Aloâ€¨ 19 Kennet Oâ€™Neillâ€¨ 20 Don Barrellâ€¨ 21 Tom Whitleyâ€¨ 22 Matt Gallagherâ€¨ 23 George Perkins.
Newcastle Falcons A:
15 Lee SmithÂ 14 Noah CatoÂ 13 Tom PennyÂ 12 Jamie HelleurÂ 11 Sean BrownÂ 10 Rory CleggÂ 9 Mike BlairÂ 1 Eric FryÂ 2 David NelsonÂ 3 Oliver TomaszcyckÂ 4 Glen YoungÂ 5 Will WittyÂ 6 Dan TemmÂ 7 Andy Saull (c)Â 8 Richard Mayhew.
Replacements: 16. Andrew DunnÂ 17. Jake EllwoodÂ 18. Mark IrvingÂ 19. Scott McLeodÂ 20. Brian TuilagiÂ 21. James ChristieÂ 22. Tom CatterickÂ 23. Brett Connon.
Aled Thomas; Tom Isaacs, Seamus Kelly, Bill Meakes, Shane Monahan; Billy Burns, Callum Braley; James Gibbons, Darren Dawidiuk, Shaun Knight; James Hudson, Tom Hicks; Danny Barrett, Dan Thomas, Will Safe
Replacements: Luke Cole, Will Goodrick-Clarke, Alec Clarey, James Voss, Rory Bartle, Harry Bassett, Lloyd Evans, Charlie Norman.
15 Perry HumphreysÂ 14 Josh DrauniniuÂ 13 Alex GroveÂ 12 Ravai FatiakiÂ 11 James StephensonÂ 10 Robbie KeithÂ 9 Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier (c)Â 1 Ofa Fainga’anukuÂ 2 Ben SowreyÂ 3 Joe ReesÂ 4 Matt PerksÂ 5 Huw TaylorÂ 6 Mat GilbertÂ 7 Sam HarryÂ 8 Richard de Carpentier.
Replacements:Â 16 Jack SingletonÂ 17 Jack CosgroveÂ 18 Rob O’DonnellÂ 19 Miles EdwardsÂ 20 Josh WatkinsÂ 21 George de CothiÂ 22 Jon HughesÂ 23 Marcus Brown.
15 Tom CollinsÂ 14 Howard PackmanÂ 13 Dom WaldouckÂ 12 Harry MallinderÂ 11 Josh SkelceyÂ 10 Will HooleyÂ 9 Alex DayÂ 1 Ethan WallerÂ 2 Mike HaywoodÂ 3 Gareth DenmanÂ 4 Alex WoolfordÂ 5 Jordan OnojaifeÂ 6 Phil Dowson (c)Â 7 Teimana HarrisonÂ 8 Cam Dolan.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillanÂ 17 Danny Hobbs-AwoyemiÂ 18 Tom MerceyÂ 19 Matti WilliamsÂ 20 Ben NutleyÂ 21 Joel HodgsonÂ 22 Sam OlverÂ 23 Rory Hutchinson.