The final round of the first phase of the ACE League takes place on Wednesday, with the last remaining top four spots up for grabs.
Last week six of the eight spots in the top four, across both conferences, were confirmed but there is plenty yet to be decided. These top four spots are so crucial because after half term the top four in each conference are then divided into two mini-conferences of four teams each, no longer split north/south. The winners of those two mini conferences will meet in the ACE League final in December.
Those finishing in the bottom three in each of these first phase conferences will also split into mini conferences, however those will remain divided North/South.
The four teams that will be in the Top 4 in the Northern Conference were already confirmed last week, Bishop Burton College, City of Oxford College, Brooksby Melton College, and Gosforth Academy, however what is not yet determined is their final positions. This is crucial, because first and third from this conference will be grouped with second and fourth in the other conference, therefore shooting for top spot is key as it will mean avoiding perennial champions Hartpury College, who have already secured top spot in the south.
All four teams are in action this weekend against other sides in the top four, so there should be some incredibly intense fixtures as they jostle for top seeding. Bishop Burton College can only finish in fourth, but they host a City of Oxford College side that could finish in any of the top three positions and will see this as a chance to claim top spot, so look out for a brilliant game.
Perhaps even better though will be Gosforth Academy v Brooksby Melton College, Gosforth were top through most of the campaign but now lie in third after a defeat, Brooksby Melton are now at the top of the pile. However with the top 3 separated by just a point, this game could see the whole pecking order change throughout the afternoon.
The final game in the northern conference sees Oaklands College, who came so close to challenging for the Top 4, host Myerscough College, who head into this final round still in search of their first victory of the campaign, and likely determined to secure it.
The southern conference still has two spots in the top four up for grabs, Hartpury College have already sealed top spot, while Truro College are guaranteed a top four place and it would be a surprise if they were to miss out on second, behind them Bishop Wand and SGS Filton College are in the driving seat, but Beechen Cliff will have huge hopes of breaking into the top 4.
The reason for that is that, in effect, Beechen Cliff have two bites of the cherry, not only do they host Bishop Wand and therefore have a chance, if they win by enough, of leapfrogging them for top spot, but also SGS Filton College have the devilishly difficult task of hosting Hartpury College, and therefore if Beechen Cliff can just get enough match-points to overcome Filton, Hartpury might just do them enough of a favour.
Of course the same works in reverse for Filton, obviously they could beat Hartpury and get the job done that way, but equally Bishop Wand could do them a favour and topple Beechen Cliff, making their result against Hartpury immaterial to their top 4 ambitions. It is all to play for.
Truro College meanwhile host Gordon’s, who have impressed in their opening season in the league. However Truro will fancy themselves at home, where they are yet to be defeated, and with a guarantee of second place the prize, they will be going all guns blazing.
It should be an interesting week!
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ACE League Round 7 Fixtures (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
ACE League Standings:
|2||City of Oxford||5||4||0||1||6||22|
|4||SGS Filton College||5||2||0||3||4||12|
Round 6 Results:
Brooksby Melton College 29-21 Oaklands College
City of Oxford College 24-21 Gosforth Academy
Myerscough College 29-39 Stourport High
Bishop Burton College v Bye
Gordon’s 17-32 SGS Filton College
Hartpury College 34-33 Beechen Cliff
Bishop Wand 19-5 Exeter College
Truro College v Bye
Round 5 Results:
Gosforth Academy 34-14 Bishop Burton College
Oaklands College 14-20 City of Oxford College
Stourport High 22-50 Brooksby Melton College
Myerscough College v Bye
Beechen Cliff 33-12 Gordon’s
Exeter College 19-55 Hartpury College
SGS Filton College 31-33 Truro College
Bishop Wand v Bye
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