Beechen Cliff played their latest ACE League fixture on the hallowed ground of The Rec last week and rewarded the vociferous home crowd with a scrappy, but hard earned 27-17 win against Stourport High School.
The RFU ACE League pits the partner state schools or colleges of all the Premiership clubs against each other in a National League of exceptional quality.
Stourport High School were affiliated to Worcester Warriors, but continue to challenge strongly in the ACE League despite the recent loss of their parent organisation.
Playing on The Rec was a great opportunity to showcase the quality of the ACE League and was an unforgettable experience for both teams.
The game began with Beechen Cliff on the attack, with their exciting backline creating many chances.
Eventually, the Stourport scramble defence cracked, allowing centre Rory Crum to score out wide after an outrageous offload from Henry Bartlett.
The forwards then took their turn to assert dominance, with good close range tries from back-rowers Kacey Pike and Ed Patterson, with Raff Weston converting one of them.
The home team went into the break in a confident mood and with a deserved 17-0 lead. However, the second half was a completely different story.
A combination of lack of accuracy, perhaps born from over-confidence, and a mammoth effort from the impressive Stourport pack, caused the home crowd unexpected jitters.
Stourport gained dominance at scrum, winning regular penalties and their resultant driving line-outs proved unstoppable. Two tries from the away team brought the score back to 17-10.
Beechen Cliff continued to create their own chances, but the final pass just could not go to hand as frustration grew.
Weston kicked a reassuring penalty and, eventually, Pike topped a fine individual performance with his second try to secure the bonus point.
The victory seemed safe at that point, but the valiant Stourport pack came back with one more driving line-out try in the dying moments.
At the final whistle, the overwhelming feeling in the Beechen Cliff camp was of relief that the job was done, yet frustration that they had underperformed on the big stage.