The business end of this initial phase of the 2021 ACE League really gets underway this week with Round 5 of 7 taking place.
With the top four in each conference after 7 rounds qualifying for the combined Phase 2 Leagues (where teams from the north and south are mixed into two mini-conferences), from which the top side in each reaches the final.
So the scramble for a top 4 finish in this initial phase is key for those with ACE League Title aspirations and, by the end of Wednesday’s play, the identities of those sides gets ever clearer.
Gosforth Academy and Bishop Burton College sit at the top of the Northern Conference and they meet in a blockbuster clash on Wednesday. Whichever side is victorious will create a bit of separation from the chasing pack – indeed, if results go their way, they could seal a top for place. Gosforth are unbeaten and had a week off last week, things could scarcely have gone better for them as the previously unbeaten Bishop Burton College lost their first game, a surprise at home to Oaklands College. They will be desperate to bounce back immediately.
Oaklands College, fresh from that victory over Bishop Burton, are at home this week as they host City of Oxford College. It is a key game for both, Oaklands are in fifth with City of Oxford in fourth, with five points separating them. Victory for Oaklands keeps the conference right in the balance, victory for City of Oxford meanwhile starts to create real separation and they will have one foot in the top four.
It’s a similar story in the Stourport High v Brooksby Melton College game, Stourport are in sixth and Brooksby Melton in third, but they are actually on the same points totals as Oaklands and City of Oxford respectively, meaning that this game for these two means exactly the same as the game between the other two. Myerscough College, meanwhile, are at the foot of the conference and have a bye week this week.
Hartpury College travel to Exeter College on Wednesday and a bonus point victory will all but guarantee the Gloucester side a place in the top four, they are also the only unbeaten side in the conference. Exeter College need something, after a really strong 2/2 start, they have lost their next two and will be keen to arrest the momentum. Whatever happens they will remain in the top 4 at the end of the round, but they will be keen to ensure that it is by a comfortable margin.
At the other end of the table, Beechen Cliff host Gordon’s, with the Bath side looking for their first victory of the campaign. Beechen Cliff have been in the game all campaign, collecting bonus points in every game, but have not quite been able to get the victory – they will be targeting this home game against the league’s newest side as a good opportunity. Gordon’s are riding high though, last week they claimed their first ever ACE victory by defeating Exeter College and will be full of confidence heading into this one, indeed a victory here would leave them on the cusp of the top 4.
Similarly SGS Filton College, for whom victory over Truro College would take them just a point from the top 4, with Bishop Wand having their bye week this week. Truro College are in sparkling form though, having lost their opener to Hartpury College fairly heavily, they have bounced back brilliantly, winning three in a row and putting themselves in a position where victory on Wednesday would leave them right on the cusp of top 4 qualification.
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ACE League Round 5 Fixtures (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
ACE League Standings:
|4||City of Oxford||3||2||0||1||4||12|
|5||SGS Filton College||3||1||0||2||1||5|
Round 4 Results:
Bishop Burton College 10-26 Oaklands College
Brooksby Melton College 59-0 Myerscough College
City of Oxford College 36-26 Stourport High
Gosforth Academy v Bye
Gordon’s 20-10 Exeter College
Hartpury College 31-15 Bishop Wand
Truro College 46-28 Beechen Cliff
SGS Filton College v Bye
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 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