- Hartpury - Tries: Chambers (2), Varney, Grimshaw Cons: Mathews (3)
- Beechen Cliff - Tries: Merigan, Dudman Cons: Worboys (2) Pens: Worboys (2)
Hartpury College recorded a 26-20 win over Beechen Cliff at Allianz Park to claim their ninth AASE League title.
Beechen Cliff took charge of the first half hour, going 10-0 up through a Nahum Merigan try, and five points from the boot of fullback George Worboys.
But Hartpury fought back through two Layton Chambers tries, a Sam Grimshaw score, a solo Stephen Varney effort and six points courtesy of fly-half Tommy Mathews.
Beechen Cliff started brightest, kicking deep into Hartpury territory and forcing early pressure on the Gloucester side.
No 8 Nahum Merigan picked from the base of an early attacking scrum five metres out, and charged toward the Hartpury line, finding the base of a post protector and the game's first try. The extras from Worboys were successful.
And Worboys notched a further three points just moments later to extend the Bath-based side's lead to 10 points.
Hartpury began to show signs of promise, as fly-half Mathews threaded a well-weighted kick into the path of wing Louis Rees-Zammit, only for it to trickle into touch. But despite the possession, their efforts were thwarted each time by a stern Beechen Cliff defence.
But their persistence did pay off minutes from half time. Off a lineout, they guided a strong maul toward the Beechen Cliff line, and hooker Chambers broke off to power over and cut the deficit to five points.
Second half resurgence
That momentum continued into the early stages of the second half, as centre Grimshaw scored Hartpury's second. After cutting a hard line off his fly-half, he cantered unopposed to the line, with Mathews' conversion handing them a two-point lead.
That was extended to a nine-point lead moments later, as Hartpury showed their forward strength through the driving maul again, and another Chambers try. Mathews' extras were slotted.
Worboys nudged Beechen Cliff back into contention with a penalty, but Hartpury's response was immediate, bagging their fourth try through scrum half Varney, who reacted to a spilt ball from a Beechen Cliff scrum, and scampered in from 30 metres.
A late converted Owen Dudman try added drama to the match in the final quarter, but the Gloucester side's defence held firm on their own line in the final play, and they hung on to seal their ninth AASE title.
1. Harry Fry, 2. Layton Chambers, 3. Harry Daynes, 4. Rhidian Lerwell, 5. Archie Tarbuck, 6. Harry Chase, 7. Jack Hewitt, 8. Joe Howard (captain), 9. Stephen Varney, 10. Tommy Mathews, 11. Louis Rees-Zammit, 12. Isaac Marsh, 13. Sam Grimshaw, 14. Max Fletcher, 15. Brad Morgan
Replacements: 16. Joel Coughlin, 17. Rowan Mullis, 18. Reuben Williams, 19. James Timony, 20. Jack Goodwin, 21. Lloyd Smith
1. Archie Stanley, 2. Oliver Bailey, 3. Archie Alexander, 4. Frankie Read, 5. Ethan Staddon, 6. Will Hendy, 7. Cameron Taylor, 8. Nahum Merigan, 9. Hugo Flinn, 10. Orlando Bailey, 11. Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 12. Ruben Moxham (cc), 13. Diego Periel, 14. Owen Dudman, 15. George Worboys
Replacements: 16. Harrison Croker, 17. Tom Jenkins, 18. James Robson, 19. Aidon Higgins, 20. Ayden Chenoweth (cc), 21. John Stewart