Beechen Cliff got their 2022 ACE League season off to flying start, on the road at SGS Filton on Wednesday.
The Bath Rugby partnership school scored eight tries in a stunning 56-26 win. 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.
After an impeccably observed minutes’ silence in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, England Under-18 tighthead prop Billy Sela opened the scoring early on with a try from close range. Fellow prop Harry Culverhouse produced the champagne moment of the game a few minutes later when he burst through a gap in the midfield, dummied the full-back and went under the posts.
Filton came back strongly with their own try shortly afterwards but then, after a prolonged period of forward dominance, Sela barged over the line for his second. Right wing and debutant Henry Bartlett scored a rapid brace of tries just before half-time, demonstrating that Beechen Cliff could dominate on the edges just as much as they could upfront.
Beechen Cliff rang the changes at half-time giving vital ACE League experience to the younger members of the squad. They proved to be very much up to the job, creating the opportunities for centre Rory Crum to show his pace on the outside for a fantastic pair of tries. Sela completed his short-range hat trick shortly afterwards, before taking a well-earned rest.
Another England Under-18 tourist Raff Weston, who controlled the game masterfully from fly half, was immaculate from the tee, converting all eight tries. To their great credit Filton fought back to secure a bonus point of their own in the dying minutes of the game.
Skipper James Short was delighted with his team’s disciplined performance.
“The boys have worked so hard during the pre-season and, for the first game, there were so many positive elements to reflect on as we build towards next Wednesday’s tough challenge versus Truro College at home. All support would be most welcome!”