Stourport HS and Sixth Form College narrowly missed out on the RFU ACE League Plate despite a stirring second half fightback as they went down 41-33 to Beechen Cliff School in the final at Stourbridge.
Stourport, Warriors’ team in the ACE League, were 31-7 down at half-time to their counterparts from Bath but used the strong downfield wind to their advantage after the break to pull back to 38-28 before a late penalty settled the game.
Hooker Ethan Allen (Telford Hornets) scored Stourport’s first half try after he peeled from the back of a maul and crashed over with full-back Matt Smith (Sutton Coldfield) adding the conversion.
By that stage Beechen Cliff had already scored two tries and they added three more before half-time.
Stourport responded with a try after replacement hooker Harry Burrows (Shrewsbury) went over with Jack Condliffe (Luctonians) adding the conversion but Beechen Cliff cancelled that out with a penalty try after a driving maul was collapsed.
Stourport then enjoyed their best period of the match with captain Will Pugh (Luctonians) scoring after a break from his centre partner Archie Jones (Bridgnorth) with Condliffe adding the extras.
Allen then ripped the ball from a Beechen Cliff player 60 metres out and sprinted to the line, beating all the cover individually to score under the posts with Condliffe again converting to reduce the deficit to ten points.
Beechen Cliff increased their lead with an important penalty but Stourport finished with another well-worked try with Dan Chambers (Wolverhampton) sparking a counter-attack which was finished by replacement wing Mikey Yalland (unattached).
“It has been a terrific season for us at Stourport. We’ve really established ourselves in the ACE League this year with some fine performances,” said Ryan Watkins, Warriors’ ACE Manager.
“A lot of the lads who played at Stourbridge have another year with us as they’re currently under 17, so it’s an exciting time.
“The lads can be proud of their season and have developed with every week. It’s a tough competition, but with that challenge comes the opportunity to improve all the time.”
The ACE – Academies, Colleges and Education – scheme is targeted at talented Year 12 and Year 13 students who have the aspirations and potential to play at the elite end of the game.
The scheme gives boys the opportunity to combine rugby training on a daily basis with academic study at Stourport HS which allows the students to not only gain an excellent education, but also experience high quality rugby training and match opportunities.