It has been a sensational weekend of school rugby, with some of the top teams in the country coming together.
There was also a little bit of action in the U18 School Vase among the many other fixtures on a weekend that saw a number of hugely impressive performances, with more than just a few sides putting the opposition to the sword.
It always seemed that Bedford v Dulwich College would be a crucial game, and so it proved. Both sides played some excellent rugby, but it was Bedford who was the more clinical, ending up with a reasonably comfortable final score of 27-8.
Kirkham Grammar School faced one of their toughest challenge of the season so far when they travelled to Denstone College. The hosts put up a stiff test, but Kirkham came away with a good 23-5 win to extend their unbeaten run.
Eton College v Epsom College always seemed as though it was going to be a big and close game. It proved to be just so, with Epsom College recording a really important 12-10 win, exactly what they needed after a couple of losses in other close games.
Canford faced arguably their toughest fixture since their defeat of Millfield on the opening weekend as they travelled to Hampton. They backed up that performance perfectly though, with an impressive 36-22 victory away from home.
A handful of names have been circulated as being among they very best three or four this year, among them Harrow. It should come as no surprise then that they showed their class again to beat St Paul’s on Saturday, but surely nobody could have predicted the manner of the victory, a stunning statement 63-3 destruction.
Kingswood were almost as impressive as they hosted last year’s Schools Cup finalists, Bishop Wordsworth’s, beating them by a hugely impressive 45-12 margin.
There was a massive performance from Berkhamsted away at RGS High Wycombe. Sedbergh put Berkhamsted to the sword last week, and it would have been very easy for that result to have caused a collapse in confidence, particularly when travelling to a tough place like RGS, but they stood up to be counted in an incredibly close game of rugby. It was nip and tuck the whole way through, but Berkhamsted dug deep and secured an excellent 19-17 victory.
Yorkshire played host to one of the biggest games of the weekend as two sides with fantastic recent records, St Peter’s York and QEGS Wakefield took to the field. Both arrived unbeaten, but it was St Peter’s who were to emerge with that record intact, securing an excellent 27-15 victory.
There was an equally big game in the West Midlands as Schools Cup champions Warwick hosted the Daily Mail Trophy champions Wellington College for what was undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of the weekend’s fixtures. Form this season suggested Wellington were favourites, indeed there will be few, if any games that they are not, but they arrived with five major injuries, including three internationals. The triple Trophy champions put that to one side though as they performed brilliantly for a 39-17 victory to continue their superb unbeaten start.
With a huge Champions Trophy match coming up on Tuesday for Blundell’s, once again against Epsom College, they secured a valuable and confidence boosting 31-11 win over Bryanston, who are also in Champions Trophy action this week, against Eton College, who of course narrowly lost to Epsom on Saturday.
Around the Grounds
There were some hugely impressive scorelines all over the country. Not least in the South West, were Bristol Grammar School pulled out all of the stops to beat King’s College Taunton 64-0, nor on the South Coast, where Brighton College was on fire for a 48-0 win, up in Yorkshire Bradford Grammar put 59 past Birkdale.
None was quite as impressive as two absolute stunners elsewhere. First, on Saturday morning Dame Allan’s secured by far their best result of the season with a sublime 75-0 win at home to Yarm.
That was followed later in the day by an equally impressive performance from last year’s Schools Cup semi-finalists, Felsted. They beat Eltham College by a simply stunning 72-0 margin. Alongside those, Haileybury was just as impressive with a simply magnificent 70-5 win over a St Albans side that competed hard against them in last year’s County Cup final.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was a genuine schoolboy classic down in the South West as Clifton College retained the Governor’s Cup in a thrilling 30-29 victory over Marlborough College. The fixture is the oldest school fixture in the country, first played in 1864, hence the Cup, and it was certainly a game of rugby that fitted the occasion.
That was almost nothing next to Campion’s achievement though as they toppled the mighty Palmerston North Boys High School from New Zealand in an absolute thriller, 28-27. This is a side, remember, that beat Millfield 40-26 in midweek.
There was a close one up in Pocklington, too, as they beat a good Barnard Castle side 18-17. There was a close one at Christ’s Hospital too, where Sevenoaks ran out 24-21 winners.
Sherborne enjoyed a fine 22-12 win at Abingdon on Saturday, and Dean Close continued their flying form from midweek with another stunning performance for a 52-22 win against Bloxham.
In many ways, Sedbergh put in one of their finest performances of the season. They have cast some sides aside with some enormous scorelines this season, however, when down to 14 men early on away at Durham due to a red card, they were in a tricky situation. They had to dig right into their depths and came away with a highly impressive 28-6 win in the circumstances, described by some as their toughest game of the season.
Alongside the likes of Sedbergh, Cranleigh is among the most highly rated sides this year, and they proved that again on Saturday with a good 35-7 win at Hurstpierpoint College. Oundle, meanwhile, secured a much needed 14-10 win over Stowe.
Downside might not be getting the same level of praise, but they are ticking along very nicely indeed, securing another cracking win by beating King’s Bruton 38-0. Tonbridge was back on the horse this weekend with a good 34-24 win at Radley College ahead of Tuesday Champions Trophy encounter away at St John’s Leatherhead, who went down to another Champions Trophy side, RGS Guildford, 27-17.
Cheltenham College is off to a flyer this year, unbeaten so far, and that run continued on Saturday with an excellent 31-7 win over Rugby School. RGS Newcastle was really impressive against Woodhouse Grove, a side that can be a match for anyone, winning 32-22 away from home.
There were some important derby games on Saturday too. Stamford finalized Rutland bragging rights with a stunning 42-7 victory against Uppingham, having already beaten Oakham this year, that gives them the full bragging right in this mini-series, which continues on Thursday when Uppingham host Oakham.
The Oratory derby saw The Oratory claim the spoils with an excellent 27-19 win against namesakes London Oratory.
Last week The Oaratory were involved in another derby, this one against Reading Blue Coat. Reading Blue Coat won that and they made it back to back derby wins with a 33-13 win over Reading School to head into the third round of the Schools Vase.
Sutton Valence became the first side to secure a fourth-round spot in the Vase, they put in a truly outstanding performance to beat St Lawrence College 64-24.
Probably the performance of the day on Friday was a stunning 52-0 win for Shiplake Collge against Halliford.
Judd claimed the full set of local bragging rights in the local area on Friday, they had beaten Tonbridge earlier in the season and backed that up with an excellent 29-10 victory against the always hard to beat Skinners’.
There was a fantastic occasion at Hayes as they hosted South Africa side Harlequins, from Pretoria. Both sides gave everything, but it was the South African’s that ran out as winners, 25-12. St Dunstan’s, meanwhile, beat King’s Rochester 24-10. Caterham and Colfe’s meanwhile played out an exciting 17-17 draw.
There was just the one game on Sunday, but it was a special one as Queen Ethelburga’s and Claire’s Court played at Allianz Park as a curtain raiser to Saracens’ thumping win over Wasps on Sunday. The school game was far closer though, with Claire’s Court the winners, 17-8.
Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures (predictions in bold):
Bedford 27-8 Dulwich College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Blundell’s 31-11 Bryanston (Daily Mail Trophy)
Denstone College 5-23 Kirkham Grammar School
Eton College 10-12 Epsom College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Hampton 22-36 Canford (Daily Mail Trophy)
Harrow 63-3 St Paul’s (Daily Mail Trophy)
Kingswood 45-12 Bishop Wordsworth’s (Daily Mail Trophy)
RGS High Wycombe 17-19 Berkhamsted (Daily Mail Trophy)
St Peter’s, York 27-15 QEGS Wakefield (Daily Mail Trophy)
Warwick 17-39 Wellington College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Caterham 17-17 Colfe’s
Halliford 0-52 Shiplake College
Hayes 12-25 Harlequins, Pretoria (South Africa)
Judd 29-10 Skinners’
King’s Rochester 10-24 St Dunstan’s
Abingdon 12-22 Sherborne (Daily Mail Trophy)
Ampleforth College 22-0 Hymers College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Bradford GS 59-10 Birkdale
Brentwood 7-53 Richard Hale
Brighton College 48-0 Trinity (Daily Mail Trophy)
Bristol GS 64-0 King’s College, Taunton (Daily Mail Trophy)
Campion 28-27 Palmerston North BHS, New Zealand
Cardinal Vaughan 12-61 Wisbech GS
Christ’s Hospital 21-24 Sevenoaks
Churcher’s College 8-17 Lord Wandsworth College
Clayesmore 12-17 Exeter School
Clifton College 30-29 Marlborough College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Colston’s 41-12 Taunton
Dame Allan’s 75-0 Yarm (Daily Mail Trophy)
Dartford GS 10-19 New Hall
Dauntsey’s 47-17 KES Southampton
Dean Close 52-22 Bloxham (Daily Mail Trophy)
Duke of York’s RMS 49-29 Cranbrook
Durham 6-28 Sedbergh (Daily Mail Trophy)
Edinburgh Academy 19-19 Kelvinside Academy
Emanuel 49-18 Reigate GS (Daily Mail Trophy)
Felsted 72-0 Eltham College
Fettes College 22-31 Strathallan
Grammar School at Leeds 17-10 St Ambrose College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Gresham’s 36-0 Wymondham College
Gunnersbury 0-56 Tiffin
Haileybury 70-5 St Albans (Daily Mail Trophy)
Hereford Cathedral School 22-19 Christ College
Hurstpierpoint College 7-35 Cranleigh (Daily Mail Trophy)
KCS Wimbledon 27-29 Northampton School for Boys (Daily Mail Trophy)
KES Birmingham 5-35 Malvern College (Daily Mail Trophy)
King’s Bruton 0-38 Downside
King’s Canterbury 14-35 Reed’s (Daily Mail Trophy)
King Henry VIII, Coventry 12-13 Ellesmere College
Langley Park 3-11 Wallington CGS
Leicester GS 48-28 Nottingham HS
Llandaff Cathedral 38-0 Rendcomb College
Loretto 52-0 Dundee HS
Loughborough GS 19-16 King’s Worcester (Daily Mail Trophy)
Magdalen College 0-7 St Edward’s, Oxford (Daily Mail Trophy)
Merchant Taylors’ 7-0 UCS
Monkton Combe 10-36 Prior Park College
Mount St Mary’s College 55-5 Ashville College
Old Swinford Hospital 27-19 Adams GS (Daily Mail Trophy)
Oratory 27-19 London Oratory (Daily Mail Trophy)
Oundle 14-10 Stowe (Daily Mail Trophy)
Pocklington 18-17 Barnard Castle (Daily Mail Trophy)
Portsmouth GS 31-3 Pangbourne College
Princethorpe College 10-5 Bablake
Radley College 24-34 Tonbridge (Daily Mail Trophy)
Reading Blue Coat 33-13 Reading School (Schools Vase)
RGS Colchester 58-0 Bishop’s Stortford HS
RGS Lancaster 0-8 Stonyhurst College
RGS Worcester 14-52 Solihull (Daily Mail Trophy)
Robert Gordon’s College 12-33 Merchiston Castle
Rugby 7-31 Cheltenham College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Rydal Penrhos 29-27 AKS Arnold
Seaford College 12-0 Eastbourne College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Sir Thomas Rich’s 10-24 Monmouth (Daily Mail Trophy)
Stamford 42-7 Uppingham (Daily Mail Trophy)
St Anselm’s 28-7 Manchester GS
St Benedict’s 26-9 Worth (Daily Mail Trophy)
St George’s College, Weybridge 17-7 Wimbledon College (Daily Mail Trophy)
St John’s, Leatherhead 17-27 RGS Guildford (Daily Mail Trophy)
Stewart’s Melville 33-5 Glasgow Academy
Sutton Valence 64-24 St Lawrence College (Schools Vase)
Trent College 35-15 Worksop College
Warminster 5-15 Bristol Cathedral School
Wilmslow HS 7-31 Wirral GS (Daily Mail Trophy)
Windsor Boys 10-15 Latymer Upper
Woodhouse Grove 22-32 RGS Newcastle (Daily Mail Trophy)
Wycliffe College 7-17 King’s Gloucester
Queen Ethelburga’s 8-17 Claire’s Court
Still to Come:
Bedford Modern v Hitchin Boys’
Bishop Stortford College v Mill Hill
Cooper’s Coborn v QES, Barnet
Liverpool College v Lymm HS
Stockport GS v Cheadle Hulme
Wellingborough v King’s Ely