ACE League Fixture Match Report – Exeter College v Beechen Cliff

Exeter College 24 v 7 Beechen Cliff

With the last ACE fixture taking place in December 2019 it was great to see rugby and competitive sport return to Exeter College after 21 months with Exeter College hosting Bath based Beechen Cliff School.

There was a large crowd down at Flowerpot Fields who witnessed a great game played with great sportsmanship and spirit from both teams, highlighting how much these players have missed playing. With the inevitable nerves at the start of the game both teams took the game to each other with scoring opportunities for both teams only to be thwarted by some great defence.

After 15 minutes it was the hosts that broke the dead lock. After several penalties, that allowed Exeter to move up the pitch, a quick tap penalty by second row Joe Bailey, who managed to burrow his way under the oncoming defence to score the first try. The conversion was pushed wide from out wide.

Both teams kept the vociferous crowd entertained with some entertaining rugby in attack along with some great defence. There were no other scores in the first half but it wasn’t long into the 2nd half when Exeter extended their lead with a driving maul try scored by the forwards but with hooker Henry Roberts dotting it down over the line.

With only a 10 point lead and the visitors looking dangerous in attack the next score would be crucial, and after some hard work it was Exeter College the scored the crucial try. From a lineout Roberts carried it forward before centre Jack Mitchell took a few more crucial meters into the Beechen 22 meter area. The forwards then took over and rumbled it forward towards the line but Beechen determined defence turned it over and went about clearing the lines. The home forwards reacted well and held the Beechen drive up and were then aided by full back Charlie Groves who managed to rip the ball out of the maul and pop it to prop Tom Gulley who had the simple task of flopping over the line to score. The try was converted by centre Louie Drennan for a 17 – 0 lead.

Exeter College then extended their lead with their bonus point try, and not to let the forwards get all the tries Drennan got in on the act. From a lineout on the Beechen 10 meter line the ball was spread wide where winger Isaiah Akinrowo got over the gain line with a big leg drive, before flanker Levi Richards took more ground. A well timed pass by Jack Ballett allowed prop Kyle McGhee to drive the ball close to the try line. After a quick ruck Drennan picked up the ball and drove over to score. Drennan converted his own try to make it a 24 – 0 lead.

Beechen Cliff never gave up and had the last word and showed how dangerous they were in attack with a well worked try from a scrum inside their own half, a swift move out wide gained ground and a clever kick forward that was regathered and an excellent off load out the backdoor ensured a try under the posts to allow for the simple conversion.

Both teams competed to the very end and at the final whistle it was great to see both teams come together shaking hands and being clapped through the tunnel finishing the game in the spirit it is meant to play in and highlight what we have been missing for all these months.

By Keith Brooking