The AASE League comes to a conclusion this week with fixtures on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Wednesday sees the 9th, 11th, and 13th place play offs take place at SGS Filton College, before the 3rd, 5th, and 7th place play offs kick off at Loughborough Students RFC on Thursday, with the week culminating in the AASE Final on Friday at Allianz Park.
This year’s AASE final is an historic event as, for the first time in AASE history, Hartpury College will not be in the final. The Gloucester based side have won every single edition of the AASE League, however their place as the Southern Conference representatives in this final is taken by Exeter College after Beechen Cliff spoiled the Harptury party by beating them in the final game of the round, allowing Exeter to storm into Allianz Park thanks to their superior bonus point accumulation.
Gosforth meanwhile strode to Allianz Park after beating Oaklands College and Worcester 6th form College, they timed their form to perfection, having lost to Oaklands in the first group stage but beating them in the second stage was key to securing their place at Allianz Park.
The two sides have no common opposition this season, making predictions tough, but you suspect that either way it is going to be a tough game of rugby and a great game to watch under the lights at 17.00 at Allianz Park. Whoever wins it will be an historic event, they will be the first team other than Hartpury to win the AASE league, a stunning achievement and one that will be remembered for a long time.
Wednesday is the first day of ‘finals week’, and kicks off at midday with the 9th place play off between Myerscough College and St Paul’s Catholic College at SGS Filton College. It should make for an excellent game, Myerscough have been strong all year, while St Paul’s were AASE finalists in 2014.
Up next are the host school, SGS Filton College, who face Moulton College at 14.00 in the 11th place play off. Filton will fancy their chances here, they came very close to getting into the top league following the top/bottom split at half term and will want to prove that form.
The final game of the day kicks off at 16.00, the 13th place play off. It sees Truro College face the AASE newcomers, Bishop Burton College. Bishop Burton have not picked up a win all season, but will take heart from the fact that the same was true of Beechen Cliff last year, but they secured a win on finals day and are this year competing in the 5th place play off.
Thursday’s action takes place at Loughborough Students RFC, and the opening game is the 3rd place play off at midday, featuring Oaklands College and Hartpury College. Hartpury will be devastated to be featuring in this game and not the final, the first time it has ever happened to them, but knowing them it will only fire them up to prove their quality on Thursday. However Oaklands will be equally determined, prior to half term they were the outstanding side in the North division but were pipped to the final after being beaten by Gosforth. This could be a classic.
At 14.00 the 5th place play off takes place as Worcester 6th form College face possibly the most improved side in the entire AASE League, Beechen Cliff, who won just one game last year but are now one of the few sides in AASE history to have beaten Hartpury College.
The final game of the day sees Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College face Henley College in the 7th place play off at 16.00. Wyggeston were among the best around last year but did not quite hit their peak until late on this season. Henley had a storming first half of the year, reached the top division in the south following the half term split, a brilliant achievement.
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AASE League Finals Week Fixtures (predictions in bold):
Wednesday (SGS Filton College)
Myerscough College v St Paul’s Catholic College – 12.00 – 9th Place Play Off
Moulton College v SGS Filton College – 14.00 – 11th Place Play Off
Bishop Burton College v Truro College – 16.00 – 13th Place Play Off
Thursday (Loughborough Students RFC)
Oaklands College v Hartpury College – 12.00 – 3rd Place Play Off
Worcester 6th form College v Beechen Cliff – 14.00 – 5th Place Play Off
Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I v Henley College – 16.00 – 7th Place Play Off
Friday (Allianz Park)
Gosforth Academy v Exeter College – 17.00 – AASE Final