The final round of the first phase of the 2018 AASE League takes place on Wednesday, with the battle for those all important final top 4 spots still wide open in both conferences.
After this round the league breaks for half term, and on the teams return from half term the second phase of the league begins. It sees both conferences split in half, with the top four going into one conference and the bottom three in another, leaving us four conferences. For those in the bottom three, their conferences remain North and South, for those in the top 4 things are a little different. The two conferences mix in a slight change from last year. 1st and 3rd in the North go into a conference with 2nd and 4th in the South and vice versa.
The four sides in each premier conference face each other once each, and the winners of those two mini conferences then meet at Allianz Park in the AASE League final. Second place plays second from the other premier conference for third place overall, and so on. Meanwhile in the two lower conferences the same process happens, but with the top side in each in a 9th place play off, second in an 11th place play off, and third in a 13th place play off.
Gosforth Academy, Bishop Burton College, and Brooksby Melton College have all already qualified to be in the top half split, all that remains for them now is to battle it out for the bragging rights of finishing top. Gosforth have them best shot of that, they are four points clear of Bishop Burton and 6 clear of Brookby Melton with five to play for, and they host Brooksby Melton on Wednesday.
Bishop Burton meanwhile are at home to Moulton College, who chances of qualification for the top half are over by virtue of the fact that Oaklands College, currently 4th, host Myerscough College, currently 5th, which means that they cannot amass more points that either as one will surely win and even a draw would see Moulton edged out anyway.
The task is easier for Oaklands than Myerscough as they are at home and are two points clear so they could go through with just a draw, even potentially a loss should Myerscough fail to get a bonus point and Oaklands get two. Essentially though, whoever wins it will qualify for the top half split.
No matter what, Beechen Cliff will top the Southern Conference. They have a bye week but won all six games with a bonus point and are nine points clear of Exeter College at the top.
Exeter College are also safely qualified though, they travel to a resurgent SGS Filton College, who picked up their first win of the campaign last week against St Paul’s Catholic College.
It gave them a very very slender chance of going through to the top half, but only if Henley lose to Hartpury College and St Paul’s beat Truro without a bonus point while Filton beat Exeter with one.
What is more likely is that the winner of Truro v St Paul’s Catholic College will go through. Truro are favourites to make it, they are in fourth now, 3 points clear of Henley and St Paul’s so even a narrow defeat could be enough for them.
Henley College also have a chance, but they have to beat a Hartpury College side that have already qualified, they sit in third, and are reigning champions. It has been an odd campaign for Hartpury, they have lost twice but against Truro College and St Paul’s they have been utterly dominant.
Whatever happens, it is sure to be an exciting afternoon of AASE rugby on Wednesday as we await the confirmed top 4 in each conference.
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AASE Round 7 Fixtures (predictions in bold):
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
Northern Conference Table
Southern Conference Table
Brooksby Melton College 29-33 Oaklands College
Moulton College 17-64 Gosforth Academy
Myerscough College w/o Stourport High School
Bishop Burton College – Bye
Exeter College 17-24 Beechen Cliff
Hartpury College 64-5 Truro College
St Paul’s Catholic College 19-38 SGS Filton College
Henley College – Bye
Gosforth Academy 36-31 Bishop Burton College
Oaklands College 22-31 Moulton College
Stourport High School 5-59 Brooksby Melton College
Myerscough College – Bye
Beechen Cliff 40-21 St Paul’s Catholic College
SGS Filton College 12-26 Hartpury College
Truro College 38-19 Henley College
Exeter College – Bye
Bishop Burton College 18-10 Oaklands College
Brooksby Melton College 57-0 Myerscough College
Moulton College 20-17 Stourport High School
Gosforth Academy – Bye
Hartpury College 19-50 Beechen Cliff
Henley College 36-26 SGS Filton College
St Paul’s Catholic College 42-43 Exeter College
Truro College – Bye
Myerscough College 41-5 Moulton College
Oaklands College 24-31 Gosforth Academy
Stourport High School 7-27 Bishop Burton College
Brooksby Melton College – Bye
Beechen Cliff 39-10 Henley College
Exeter College 47-40 Hartpury College
SGS Filton College 7-24 Truro College
St Paul’s Catholic College – Bye
Bishop Burton College 24-14 Myerscough College
Gosforth Academy 39-12 Stourport High School
Moulton College 19-29 Brooksby Melton College
Oaklands College – Bye
Hartpury College 76-24 St Paul’s Catholic College
Henley College 22-29 Exeter College
Truro College 17-29 Beechen Cliff
SGS Filton College – Bye
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
St Paul’s Catholic College 19-17 Henley College
Hartpury College – Bye