The opening round of the 2018 AASE League took place on Wednesday, with one game on Tuesday, and saw a number of exciting games.
With the league again split into two conference of seven, north and south, there were three games in each conference with one side in each having a bye, Moulton College in the north and reigning champions Hartpury College in the south.
There was also the introduction of a new team, Stourport High School, who come into the northern conference in place of Worcester 6th form College this year and like the team they replace they will represent Worcester Warriors.
Last year’s runners up were Gosforth Academy. The Newcastle Falcons AASE side have been among the most exciting sides in the country over the last few year, school, college, or AASE, and they continued that pattern away to Myerscough College in this opening round. A close but exciting game ensued and as expected there were plenty of points, 73 in total, with Gosforth taking the spoils away from home 43-30.
It was a tough start to AASE life for Stourport who went down 46-5 at Sixways to one of last year’s leading lights, Oaklands College. They will take heart though in the performance of last year’s newcomers Brooksby Melton College, who enjoyed a strong first season, and in Bishop Burton College. The Yorkshire Carnegie outfit were new in 2016 and struggled at first but have since progressed rapidly.
That progress was shown on Wednesday as they beat Brooksby Melton on Leicester Tigers’ territory, securing the 29-24 away win to get their campaign off to a perfect start.
With Hartpury having a bye week in the opening round, this was a chance for everyone in the conference to steal a march on the perennial front-runners. The southern conference actually opened the league this year with an all Exeter Chiefs AASE derby of Exeter College v Truro College on Tuesday night.
A brilliant game ensued with both sides giving it everything after a long day that had seen the 2nd and 3rd XVs meet as well. Exeter College took the win, 34-21, and as the only side other than Hartpury to have ever won the league, back in 2016, they will be delighted to be putting the pressure on right from the start.
So too Beechen Cliff, who enjoyed an outstanding 42-7 victory over SGS Filton College on Wednesday. It was the third Bath v Bristol outing of the opening week of the season, with Bristol taking the Gallagher Premiership and Premiership Shield spoils, but Beechen Cliff struck back for Bath with this brilliant AASE showing.
The final game in the south was a brilliantly close game between St Paul’s Catholic College and Henley College. Both had great spells last season and look well matched again this, the home side, St Paul’s, took the spoils 19-17 but both sides will be eagerly awaiting the fixtures to come.
Next week Moulton College make their season debuts as they welcome Brooksby Melton, Stourport look to rectify their loss to Oaklands, who have a bye, when they make the tricky trip to Gosforth. Bishop Burton meanwhile will be looking to make it two in a row when they entertain Myerscough.
In the south the champions will take to the field for the first time as they host St Paul’s, Henley College meanwhile welcome Exeter College, giving us two games from which we should learn a lot about the season to come. Beechen Cliff will hope to back up that brilliant win over SGS Filton, who have a bye, but face a tough trip down to Truro.
AASE Round 1 Results:
Brooksby Melton College 24-29 Bishop Burton College
Myerscough College 30-43 Gosforth Academy
Stourport High School 5-46 Oaklands College
Moulton College – Bye
Beechen Cliff 42-7 SGS Filton College
Exeter College 34-21 Truro College (Tuesday)
St Paul’s Catholic College 19-17 Henley College
Hartpury College – Bye
Bishop Burton College v Myerscough College
Gosforth Academy v Stourport High School
Moulton College v Brooksby Melton College
Oaklands College – Bye
Hartpury College v St Paul’s Catholic College
Henley College v Exeter College
Truro College v Beechen Cliff
SGS Filton College – Bye
Myerscough College v Moulton College
Oaklands College v Gosforth Academy
Stourport High School v Bishop Burton College
Brooksby Melton College – Bye
Beechen Cliff v Henley College
Exeter College v Hartpury College
SGS Filton College v Truro College
St Paul’s Catholic College – Bye
Bishop Burton College v Oaklands College
Brooksby Melton College v Myerscough College
Moulton College v Stourport High School
Gosforth Academy – Bye
Hartpury College v Beechen Cliff
Henley College v SGS Filton College
St Paul’s Catholic College v Exeter College
Truro College – Bye
Gosforth Academy v Bishop Burton College
Oaklands College v Moulton College
Stourport High School v Brooksby Melton College
Myerscough College – Bye
Beechen Cliff v St Paul’s Catholic College
SGS Filton College v Hartpury College
Truro College v Henley College
Exeter College – Bye
Brooksby Melton College v Oaklands College
Moulton College v Gosforth Academy
Myerscough College v Stourport High School
Bishop Burton College – Bye
Exeter College v Beechen Cliff
Hartpury College v Truro College
St Paul’s Catholic College v SGS Filton College
Henley College – Bye
Bishop Burton College v Moulton College
Gosforth Academy v Brooksby Melton College
Oaklands College v Myerscough College
Stourport High School – Bye
Henley College v Hartpury College
SGS Filton College v Exeter College
Truro College v St Paul’s Catholic College
Beechen Cliff – Bye