Bicton College will face one of the toughest tasks in U18 rugby on Wednesday at 5pm when they face Hartpury College in the AASE Final at Allianz Park.
Harptury College have won every single edition of the AASE league since its inception in the 2009/10 season. In all honesty, in all of that time, they have rarely looked like being defeat. Though there has been the odd one.
What there has not been though is a side that has defeated them in the final, that is the task that Bicton College face on Wednesday evening.
Bicton know what it takes to win at Allianz Park though, they won there last year to lift the Plate, defeating Gosforth Academy 37-13 in the final.
This is a different task, a much harder task. But Bicton can cope with pressure and a tough task. In what was effectively a semi final last week against St Paul’s Catholic College, who had been the pace-setters in the south, Bicton found themselves 15-0 down at half time and staring into the abyss.
Incredibly they managed to claw their way back into a 17-15 lead, using the weather to their advantage, but with just minutes lost that lead as St Paul’s landed a penalty to go back in front.
A lot of sides would not recover from falling behind again, but Bicton are not a lot of sides, and they recovered to set up a sensational finish to the game Josh Mackin scoring at the death to send his side into the final with a 22-18 win.
For Hartpury though, matters have been altogether more serene. As they tend to be for Hartpury. They are unbeaten this season and have been scoring points for fun. Things have been playing in to their hands to such an extent that what could have been a tough semi final against Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College turned into a walkover as Wyggeston had to concede through injuries.
It is no exaggeration to describe Hartury College in this era as perhaps the greatest school/college/u18 rugby dynasty that there has been. They certainly rivals those great Colston’s sides of the nineties who won six NatWest Cup titles in a row.
Indeed Hartpury have six AASE titles in a row. A win at Allianz Park would make it seven. In those seven years of AASE competition, this incredible College from Gloucester have lost just four games, and drawn one.
Even scarier, those four losses are spread across just two seasons. In seven years of AASE competition, they are unbeaten in five. Quite unbelievable.
That is the scale of the task that faces Bicton at Allianz Park. Yet as everyone knows, all great dynasties must topple at some point, Bicton will be doing everything in their power to make Wednesday evening that point.
Hartpury, though, will be using all of their considerable powers to ensure the opposite.
AASE Final – Bicton College v Hartpury College – Allianz Park, Wednesday 25th November, 17.00 kick off.
Road to Allianz Park
Post Split Round 2: 22-18 v St Paul’s
Post Split Round 1: 12-7 v Filton College
Pre Split Round 6: 19-7 v Ivybridge
Pre Split Round 5: 19-15 v St Paul’s
Pre Split Round 4: 57-5 v Beechen Cliff
Pre Split Round 3: 20-0 v Henley College
Pre Split Round 2: 17-10 v Truro College
Pre Split Round 1: 14-16 v Filton College
Post Split Round 2: w/o v Wyggeston
Post Split Round 1: 45-15 v Myerscough College
Pre Split Round 6: 47-17 v Wyggeston
Pre Split Round 5: 65-7 v Gosforth Academy
Pre Split Round 4: 46-27 v Moulton College
Pre Split Round 3: 69-5 v Oaklands College
Pre Split Round 2: 48-7 v Myerscough College
Pre Split Round 1: 48-5 v Worcester 6th form College
Bicton College – Plate Winners
Hartpury College – Winners
(For Info: Hartpury College’s losses and draws in AASE history have been – 2013/14 20-13 & 24-16 both to St Paul’s, 2012/13 10-10 v Oaklands, 2009/10 27-14 v Myerscough and 32-13 v Moulton)