This week’s Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend has a real mixed bag of reasons for sides being included.
Some are included after staggeringly big wins, some for rounding off a superb start to the season with another excellent win, and others for digging deep for a narrow win against top-rate opposition.
Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend
What a start to the season it has been from Cheltenham College. They travelled to Abingdon on Saturday with three wins from three, and were probably expecting one of their stiffest challenges of the season so far. Instead they turned up the volume even more, securing their biggest win of the season to date, a sublime 41-11 victory. With Rugby and St Edward’s Oxford to come, two strong schools but two that Cheltenham have a very decent chance of beating, Cheltenham have a chance to secure an unbeaten first half of term.
We said before the game kicked off that Dulwich College v Brighton College was a crucial game and could go a long way to determining how each side shape up in the weeks to come. As it was, what we got was a classic. A thrilling 29-26 victory for Dulwich that showed actually just how good both sides are – it will be exciting to see what happens if they get the chance to meet again at St Joseph’s in a couple of week’s time. For Dulwich though, victory in a game of such a slender margin gets them into our Top 5. It is the second time that they have closed out a very close one this season, and that is a fantastic quality for any side to have. Their trip to Bedford on Saturday could be telling.
Any side staring at a 12-0 deficit in the opening few minutes of a game is likely to panic, or to end up going even further behind. Not so New Hall. St Albans appeared to have them on the ropes in those opening exchanges but New Hall gathered their composure, backed themselves, and then stormed away to a stunning 50-19 victory. It was quite the show of character. They now remain unbeaten in their Saturday fixtures, their only loss a midweek Schools Cup game to Felsted last week. They are certainly one of the form sides in their area.
A 73-9 victory is always pretty hard to ignore. Even more so when it is away from home. Even more so again when it is against a pretty decent side. That is exactly what Sedbergh did when they went on their first big away trip of the season, to Berkhamsted, a side who had won three on the bounce prior to this game. It was Sedbergh’s 4th straight win, they are unbeaten, and the third time in a row that they had scored a half century of points. Life is going to get tougher for them, with Kirkham, Llandovery, Millfield, Wellington, QEGS, Woodhouse Grove, and Warwick among the sides to come, but their form at the moment suggests that once again they are among the very best two or three in the country.
Whitgift are the only side to have run Sedbergh anything like close this year, losing 20-13 on the opening weekend. It was a performance of great spirit and that spirit was on show again on Saturday in bucketloads as they hosted the U18 Schools Cup champions, Warwick. Warwick led 19-0 at one point in the first half and remained 19-7 down at the break. They showed truly stunning resilience though, and with two minutes left on the clock they took the lead for the very first time in the game through a try from England U16’s Harry Dugmore. It game them a 27-26 victory, a victory that was all about character and determination and earns them a spot in our Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend.