Round 4 of the ACE League takes place on Wednesday, the mid point in the first stage of the ACE season.
After 7 rounds of games the league will split, the top half of each conference being drawn together into two mini nationwide pools, with the bottom half of each also splitting into mini pools but remaining North/South.
That means some serious jostling for position, with just the top four in each qualifying for those top halves of the split, and therefore a chance of reaching the ACE final in December. With the Top 4 in the south currently covered by just two points and the gap between third and fifth in the north just a single point, things remain absolutely wide open.
Bishop Burton College and Gosforth Academy lead the way in the Northern Conference and with Gosforth having a bye week, Bishop Burton have a chance top head to the top of the conference when they host Oaklands Academy. Against Stourport High last week Bishop Burton had asserted early control through their driving maul, but showed their range of abilities later in the game with a try crafted via multiple offloads from the Yorkshire Academy affiliates to make it three wins from. Oaklands meanwhile went down to Gosforth and are still searching for their first victory, but you can guarantee they will make life as tough as possible in Yorkshire.
Brooksby Melton College had the bye week last week but played a tough game against former ACE side Henley College. How they bounce back from that will be key as they look to create a bit of distance for themselves in the top 4. They are at home on Wednesday, with Sale Sharks affiliates Myerscough College the visitors, Myerscough remain without a victory and yet have put in a number of strong performances that will leave them feeling that it is surely a matter of when, rather than if.
The third game in the Northern Conference sees City of Oxford College, who moved into third place last week, take on Stourport High, who are just a point behind in fifth, meaning that victory for either will create a bit of a gap for the winner. City of Oxford won last week, while Stourport gave a strong account of themselves against Bishop Burton, all of which suggests a cracking game on Wednesday.
Gordon’s search for a maiden win in their debut season continues on Wednesday when they host 2019 champions, Exeter College. Things are tight in the southern conference and any victory immediately changes the picture of the table. For Gordon’s though, it is just about getting that feeling captured, for Exeter College there is a very realistic chance of a bit of daylight at the top of the table on Wednesday evening, particularly with the next game on the card.
That next game sees Hartpury College, who sit in third, unbeaten but having played a game fewer than those ahead, host table-topping Bishop Wand, who are level on points with Exeter College. Hartpury have looked pretty dominant so far, but Bishop Wand have been in great form too, winning two from three and only going down by a point on the long trip to Truro in Round 2. It should be a great indication of where each side is at.
Speaking of Truro College, they are at home again on Wednesday and like Bishop Wand, Exeter College, and Hartpury College, they are seeking their third victory of the campaign. They have made a habit of winning close games in the past two weeks, v Bishop Wand and Exeter, and on Wednesday they will have another tough one as they welcome 2019 finalists Beechen Cliff, who are still searching for their first victory of the campaign, a fact that will surely have them pumped right up for this one.
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Round 4 Fixtures (29th Sept):
Bishop Burton College v Oaklands College
Brooksby Melton College v Myerscough College
City of Oxford College v Stourport High
Gosforth Academy v Bye
Gordon’s v Exeter College
Hartpury College v Bishop Wand
Truro College v Beechen Cliff
SGS Filton College v Bye
ACE League Standings:
|3||City of Oxford||2||1||0||1||3||7|
|5||SGS Filton College||3||1||0||2||1||5|
ACE League Round 3 Results:
Myerscough College 7-38 City of Oxford College
Oaklands College 17-31 Gosforth Academy
Stourport High 10-17 Bishop Burton College
Brooksby Melton College v Bye
Beechen Cliff 28-29 SGS Filton College
Exeter College 31-35 Truro College
Bishop Wand 33-5 Gordon’s
Hartpury College v Bye
Round 2 Results:
Bishop Burton College 31-17 Myerscough College
City of Oxford College 26-29 Brooksby Melton College
Gosforth Academy 22-8 Stourport High
Oaklands College v Bye
Gordon’s 0-38 Hartpury College
SGS Filton College 15-24 Exeter College
Truro College 22-21 Bishop Wand
Beechen Cliff v Bye
Round 1 Results:
Brooksby Melton College 29-33 Bishop Burton College
Myerscough College 19-22 Gosforth Academy
Stourport High 33-29 Oaklands College
City of Oxford College v Bye
Exeter College 24-7 Beechen Cliff
Hartpury College 54-12 Truro College
Bishop Wand 26-17 SGS Filton College
Gordon’s v Bye
Further ACE League Fixtures:
Round 5 (6th Oct)
Gosforth Academy v Bishop Burton College
Oaklands College v City of Oxford College
Stourport High v Brooksby Melton College
Myerscough College v Bye
Beechen Cliff v Gordon’s
Exeter College v Hartpury College
SGS Filton College v Truro College
Bishop Wand v Bye
Round 6 (13th Oct)
Brooksby Melton College v Oaklands College
City of Oxford College v Gosforth Academy
Myerscough College v Stourport High
Bishop Burton College v Bye
Gordon’s v SGS Filton College
Hartpury College v Beechen Cliff
Bishop Wand v Exeter College
Truro College v Bye
Round 7 (20th Oct)
Bishop Burton College v City of Oxford College
Gosforth Academy v Brooksby Melton College
Oaklands College v Myerscough College
Stourport High v Bye
Beechen Cliff v Bishop Wand
SGS Filton College v Hartpury College
Truro College v Gordon’s
Exeter College v Bye