Beechen Cliff School concluded their campaign today in the AASE league, as they finished as runners-up in a narrow 20-26 defeat to Hartpury College in the final at Allianz Park. Bath Rugby’s Partnership programme with Beechen Cliff, which is led by Academy Pathway Coach Ryan Davis has gone from strength to strength this season, with Beechen Cliff completing a nine-game winning streak to secure their place in the final.
Beechen Cliff started the game strongly, capitalising on Hartpury’s handling errors and earning themselves a scrum just five metres out from the opposition line. Some good forward work from the scrum allowed Nahum Merigan to crash over from close range for Beechen Cliff’s first score of the game. [7-0]
The Beechen side showed its strength again as they extended their lead just a few moments later. Beechen continued to apply pressure to the Hartpury defence, attacking deep inside their 22, Hartpury were penalised at the breakdown and George Worboys looked to the sticks and increased his sides lead to ten points. [10-0]
Hartpury responded just minutes before half-time. They were awarded a penalty around half-way and opted to put the ball in the corner. The line-out and set up of the rolling maul was good from Hartpury and they powered over for their first score of the game. The conversion was unsuccessful and Beechen went into half-time with a five-point lead. [10-5]
Half-time - Beechen Cliff 10-5 Hartpury College
Hartpury took the lead just inside the second half, it was Sam Grimshaw who cut through the Beechen line from half-way to cross for their second score of the game. Fly-half Mathews added the extras from the tee. [10-12]
Hartpury extended to their lead after 49 minutes, after winning a penalty in the midfield, they opted to put the ball in the corner. The rolling maul was at first well defended by Beechen, however Hartpury found a way through and went over in similar fashion as their first try. The conversion was successful from out wide and Hartpury took a nine-point lead. [10-19]
Beechen immediately replied, winning a penalty from the kick-off. Worboys made no mistake from the tee and was able to reduce the deficit to six points with twenty minutes left to play. [13-19]
Hartpury College landed a huge blow just four minutes later, Beechen found themselves with a scrum on their own 22, the ball was put in but it popped out the back of the scrum and Stephen Varney capitalised on the opportunity. Charging down the right flank to score in the corner. The conversion was successful from Mathews. [13-26]
Beechen Cliff responded on the 58th minute mark in impressive fashion. Beechen were in possession on halfway, the ball was popped out to Owen Dudman who somehow managed to break through the Hartpury defensive line. The winger picked up the pace before leaving the Hartpury full-back in his tracks. The conversion from Worboys was good and the gap was reduced to six, going into the final ten minutes. [20-26]
Beechen weren’t done, as they made their way up the field patiently. Time went into the red and Beechen continued to go through the phases patiently, however the ball came loose and Hartpury gathered to end the game. A heart-breaking result, but a huge effort from all involved in the Bath Rugby Partnership at Beechen Cliff.
Full-time - Beechen Cliff 20-26 Hartpury College
After the game, Bath Rugby Academy and Beechen Cliff head coach Ryan Davis said: “I’m really proud. The players have worked really hard throughout the season, have developed hugely, and it’s been a great team effort. This Bath Rugby partnership programme has come together this year, through lots of input from various people at both Bath Rugby and the school. As a learning experience for us as staff and alongside the players, it’s been one of the best.”