The AASE resumed after the half term break and postponements due to frozen pitches.
Henley College, where the London Wasps Academy Apprenticeship is based, travelled to Exeter (Exmouth RFC) for their postponed game and overcame challenging weather conditions and a powerful Exeter College team who adopted and direct one out runner approach.
Exeter playing with the wind in the first half defended strongly to keep out the Henley College team in the early stages. However, after that initial start which reflected some outstanding training the previous two days, Henley lost their way somewhat, trying to force the game and turning over possession too easily.
This permitted Exeter to unleash their big runners, applying pressure albeit in the midfield areas. Henley College defence was excellent with only one missed tackle throughout the half. Exeter converted two penalties and on the stroke of half time managed to ground a driving maul from a lineout close to the Henley College line. The half ended at 13-0 in favour of Exeter.
This was a must win game for Henley College with an opportunity to move into the top two in the league especially with Filton College and Ivybridge also playing their rearranged match on the same day.
As the second half kick off with the wind advantage in favour of Henley, the College started as they had in the first half, full of movement, pace, fast ball and commitment. This now focussed approach paid early dividends with an outstanding try, started by a penetrating run by Liam O’Neil, followed by outstanding skill by Jono Woodward to control the ball and off load putting Lewys Weaver in over the line in the right hand corner.
An excellent conversion by George Eastwell narrowed the Exeter lead to 6 pts. This was followed by wave after wave of attacks supported by strong defence pinning Exeter back inside their 22. The next score followed soon after with George Eastwell spotting a gap after a multi phase attack and powering over close to the right of the posts. Again Eastwell added the conversion taking Henley College into the lead by 14pts to 13pts.
Henley College continued to press with excellent scrambled defence from Exeter keeping them out. Eventually Exeter ran out of numbers and Lewys Weaver ghosted himself through for his second try just to right of the posts duly converted by George Eastwell. This 25 minutes of action from the start of the second half had been a true reflection of the excellence of training by the squad during the week and a good reflection of the character of the team. The game concluded with a Henley College player being sin binned and from the resultant penalty and lineout drive Exeter crossed for a very much deserved late try.
With Filton College winning 18-12 against Ivybridge College the top of the table is very congested with all to play for. Henley College and Filton have 29pts at the top with St Pauls College on 28 and Ivybridge on 27.
Details of the final fixture against Truro next Wednesday 29th are yet to be confirmed with the game possibly being played at Twyford Avenue (TBC). A decision has yet to be made however if Henley College needs to play its abandoned game against Ivybridge again.
All information on the AASE league can be found here