ACE League: Stage 2 Round 1 Preview – Title race begins!

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Coach Logic

The second stage of the ACE League begins on Wednesday as the battle for a place in the final commences.

Following the initial groups before half term, the top four from each are in two mini pools, first and third from the north with second and fourth from the south and vice versa. Each side will play the others in their group once and the winners of each group will meet in the ACE Final in December.

Those finishing second will meet in a third place play off, third in each in a fifth place play off and so on. Those that finished in the bottom half of those initial groups are also in mini groups, they stay split north/south, and those finishing top of those will meet in the 9th place play off, and so on, right to the foot of the table.

So the 14 teams are, in effect, divided into two Divisions, 1 and 2, and each division has two pools; Division 1 Pool A, Division 2 Pool B, Division 2 North, Division 2 South.

Division 1 Pool A

Pool A features the first place and third place sides from the stage 1 north group, City of Oxford College and Brooksby Melton College, and the second and fourth place sides from the stage 1 south group, Truro College and SGS Filton College.

This week City of Oxford host Brooksby Melton, as they did in their conference before half term where Brooksby Melton won a thriller 29-26 away from home. That was City of Oxford’s first game though, since then they have been utterly irrepressible and have not lost again, so we can expect a proper ding dong in Oxford on Wednesday afternoon.

In turn, that means Truro College host SGS Filton College. That was a similarly thrilling game when these two met in their conference prior to the break. Truro won 33-31 at Filton, a game almost typical of Truro’s season, now at home though Truro should have even more confidence, they have not lost at home this season.

Division 1 Pool B

Pool B contains first and third from the stage one southern conference, Hartpury College and Bishop Wand, and second and fourth from the stage one northern conference, Gosforth Academy and Bishop Burton College.

Hartpury College, the holders of more ACE titles than anyone else, finished stage one with a perfect record – six bonus point wins from six games, the only side to do so. They will host an impressive Bishop Wand side in this opening round, whom they beat 31-15 prior to half term. Bishop Wand will be confident of pushing Hartpury, but this juggernaught from Gloucestershire are such a tough side to overturn.

Gosforth Academy were highly impressive in the northern conference and for a long time looked like they might top the table, especially when they beat Bishop Burton College 34-14 in Round 5. That stung Bishop Burton and they will be desperate for a bit of revenge on Wednesday, this Gosforth side are a tough nut to crack though, such is the excitement of their play.

Division 2 North Pool

Division 2 pools only have three sides, so each has just one game each week with the other side having a bye. In the North that means a bye for Myerscough College as Oaklands College host Stourport High. In the opening round of the first stage of the competition Oaklands travelled to Stourport and Stourport won a thriller 33-29. In the end, Oaklands made the closer effort for a charge to the top 4 and with this game at home they will feel confident, but Stourport will remember than first game of the year.

Division 1 South Pool

Gordon’s have the bye in the South Pool, with Beechen Cliff hosting Exeter College, two former ACE finalists. These two met in the very first round of the competition and Exeter were on fire, winning 24-7 to set up a run that almost took them into the top 4. It wasn’t to be, but they will be absolutely itching to finish at the top of the pile in this South Pool.

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ACE League Stage 2 Fixtures/Results

Division 1 Pool A

Wednesday 10th November

City of Oxford College v Brooksby Melton College

Truro College v SGS Filton College

Wednesday 17th November

SGS Filton College v City of Oxford College

Truro College v Brooksby Melton College

Wednesday 24th November

Brooksby Melton College v SGS Filton College

City of Oxford College v Truro College

Division 1 Pool B

Wednesday 10th November

Gosforth Academy v Bishop Burton College

Hartpury College v Bishop Wand

Wednesday 17th November

Bishop Burton College v Hartpury College

Gosforth Academy v Bishop Wand

Wednesday 24th November

Hartpury College v Gosforth Academy

Bishop Wand v Bishop Burton College

Division 2 North Pool

Wednesday 10th November

Oaklands College v Stourport High School

Wednesday 17th November

Stourport High School v Myerscough College

Wednesday 24th November

Myerscough College v Oaklands College

Division 2 South Pool

Wednesday 10th November

Beechen Cliff v Exeter College

Wednesday 17th November

Exeter College v Gordon’s

Wednesday 24th November

Gordon’s v Beechen Cliff

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