This week’s Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend is potentially on the controversial side.
A number of teams with seriously outstanding victories just miss out, largely because it was nigh on impossible to separate one outstanding huge victory from another and to make space for all was equally challenging.
It was also a week where narrow victories in big games particularly caught the eye, bringing some teams into the Top 5 that have not appeared there before.
Have a look and let us know who you would have had in your Top 5, and who you think was a touch unlucky.
Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend:
A 27-8 win over Dulwich College might not seem particularly worthy of a spot in our Top 5 at first glance, but put in context it is more than impressive enough. Bedford has had huge success over the last two years and hosted this game with an unbeaten record, however, they have not been setting the world alight, and Dulwich College, who has been playing outstandingly well, was seen as a real threat to them. That Bedford not only dealt with a good Dulwich performance but also ended up with a scoreline that made it look comfortable from the outside, was a real example of how strong this group is and how well coached they are.
Mental toughness is arguably one of the most important qualities in life, let alone sport, and one Saturday Berkhamsted showed it in spades. We are sure that they will not mind us saying that a week ago they were given a real hiding by Sedbergh (few will avoid that fate this year), so an away trip to RGS High Wycombe was going to be a real test of character. Berkhamsted passed it with flying colours. Not only did they win, but they won in the sort of game that demands the most of you mentally, a close and tense game. Their 19-17 victory should restore any fleeting loss of confidence from the week before – that was character in abundance.
In midweek New Zealand tourists Palmerston North Boys High beat Millfield 40-26. So while Campion was unbeaten, and scoring tries for fun, ahead of this one, few would probably have predicted a win for them. That they did was a stunning achievement, made even more impressive by the narrow and hard-fought nature of it, 28-27. This is clearly not just a good Campion team, but a mentally strong one with a collective desire and determination. It was truly one of their great wins.
Ahead of Saturday’s fixtures, we were fairly confident of a Harrow win. They have started the season in flying form and were undoubtedly in a stronger position than St Paul’s. It is doubtful though that anyone, Harrow included, could possibly have predicted a victory of such astonishing proportions as Harrow’s 63-3 effort. It was quite magnificent and adds to the weight of opinion that once again they among the very best handful of teams in the country. Their game at Wellington College on Saturday 25th November is starting to look like one of the games of the season – and we are only a month in!
St Peter’s Gloucester
One of the biggest games of the weekend was a huge fixture in Yorkshire, St Peter’s York v QEGS Wakefield. St Peter’s finished fourth in last year’s Daily Mail Trophy, while QEGS have a team of serial achievers at U15 level and were unbeaten heading into this game. The winner would surely be established as the strongest in the country and one of the best in the region and the county. St Peter’s York took it, 27-15, yet another big win against a big team for them in a season that has seemed to be peppered with such results and victories.
A few honourable mentions…
This week was a particularly tough week to leave some teams out, Kingswood’s 45-12 win over Bishop Wordsworth’s was an excellent result, and they are a side that is really doing some impressive things this year.
There were a number of impressively big margins of victory this weekend too, but special mention must go to Dame Allan’s, Felsted, and Haileybury, who all put over 70 points on the board in games that, while they may have been expected to win, were not supposed to be quite that one-sided. In another week one would have been in our Top 5, but in our view, all three were equally impressive and we simply could not carve out the room for three teams. Rest assured, all three are firmly lodged in the mind though.