Bath Rugby’s Partnership Programme with Beechen Cliff School gained invaluable experience in a 31-23 hard-fought encounter against St Paul’s Catholic College in the RFU AASE final at Allianz Park.
Bath Rugby’s AASE side started the game with composure and looked to gain field position early on but after losing possession in midfield Archie Heard took initiative after the ball was shipped wide through the hands. The fly-half made a neat kick down the line and Michael Dykes hacked the loose ball through and dived over to score just three minutes in. Matt Barrett added the extras. [0-7]
Ryan Davis’ team soon got their reward for persistent pressure in the St Paul’s half, with Orlando Bailey taking advantage from the tee with a penalty. [3-7]
Bailey made it two out of two with another penalty after 15 minutes, to take his side to within a point on the scoreboard. [6-7]
After finding their feet in the game, the Bath Rugby Pathway side continued to rally and gather momentum in the opposition half. Victor Webb managed to find his way over the whitewash from outside the 22 following an excellent charge down from the base of the ruck. Bailey added the extras to take his side in front for the first time in the game. [13-7]
But as the game ebbed and flowed, it was St Paul’s turn to apply pressure and after a five-minute period of a distinguished defensive effort from Bath Rugby’s AASE side, Ethan Pawadyira crashed over from close range. Matt Barrett added the extras to restore his sides lead. [13-14]
Davis’ side replied well just eight minutes later, as Jasper Spandler scored their second of the afternoon. The Bath-based side showed resilience to get into the St Paul’s 22, before the hooker made the decisive break through. Bailey made it a seven-point score with the subsequent conversion. [20-14]
Half-time – Beechen Cliff School 20-14 St Paul’s Catholic College
After the break, St Paul’s crept back into the lead with tighthead prop Tarek Haffar bundling his way over from close-range under the sticks. Barrett added the routine kick to regain the lead. [20-21]
The game then turned into a real midfield battle which saw Frankie Read go in under the posts, only to be disallowed by the referee. Despite some resolute defence from Bath Rugby’s Pathway side, Ryan Eastely went over to score following 10 minutes camped in the 22. Barrett extended his sides lead to eight points. [20-28]
Bailey took his side to within one score with eight minutes to play to ensure a tense finale, after St Paul’s were penalised for an infringement at the ruck. [23-28]
The game closed with Barrett putting the result out of reach with three points from the tee.
Ryan Davis and his young squad will take learnings from this experience into the Bath Rugby U18s season, which kicks off against Bristol on Saturday 14th December.
Full-time – Beechen Cliff School 23-31 St Paul’s Catholic College