An incredible week of action in the Champions Trophy culminated in the quarter final draw being made at lunchtime on Friday.
Eight superb games took place across Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, a welcome boost for the competition after a disappointing first round in that twelve sides had received byes straight to this week’s round of the last 16.
The draw itself was almost as dramatic as some of the games, such was the quality of fixtures that were drawn out, fixtures that will be played after half term, on the week of the 4th November.
Perhaps most dramatic of all was the first game drawn, pitting the two most recent champions together, Wellington College and Dulwich College. Wellington College will host, as they did on the opening day of the season, when they secured a 31-0 victory over Dulwich. Since then though Dulwich have been superb, including in a hard ought 24-13 victory over St John’s Leatherhead on Wednesday to progress to this quarter final. Wellington College have been formidable though, unbeaten and extending that run on Tuesday when they travelled to Kingswood, opening their account with an impressive 56-26 victory away from home.
Next out of the hat were Blundell’s, drawn to host Epsom College. These two seem to be inextricably linked in this tournament. Time and time again they have met in quarter finals and semi finals, and almost always at Epsom. This time though it is Epsom that will be doing the travelling and you can be sure that Blundell’s will be giving them a vociferous welcome. The Devon side were in London in the last round, securing a gritty 15-6 victory at St Paul’s, who ran Epsom close earlier in the season. Running Epsom close is about as good as anyone has managed though, they are unbeaten this season an in sensational form, as they showed on Tuesday in a strong 31-12 victory over a good Bristol Grammar side in the second round.
Next up was another game that we have already seen played this season, and again it was on the opening weekend. Rugby v Oakham. Rugby won 40-17 that day and have gone on to win their next five on the bounce, including a 45-0 victory over RGS Guildford on Wednesday to reach this quarter final, and an opening round 66-7 defeat of former champions Bedford. Remarkably, Oakham’s result is the closest anyone has got to them all season, illustrating just how good this side is. Oakham will be full of confidence though, they made their way to this quarter final by slaying another of the dominant sides of this year’s school season, Clifton College. They held a shock 22-7 lead at half time and held off the inevitable fightback superbly to secure a 25-19 victory.
The final game drawn saw one of last year’s star sides, Hampton, drawn to host the side that ended this second round of games in dramatic fashion on Thursday, Uppingham. Hampton are one of just two sides in this quarter final draw to have played in the first round, alongside Rugby. In that opening round they came through a really tough game against former champions Tonbridge, 24-15. On Wednesday in the second round though things went much more smoothly in a sensational performance at Berkhamsted, where they secured a 38-0 victory. Uppingham, on the other hand, had without doubt the most dramatic game of the round. In front of the live stream cameras at Hurstpierpoint College they twice came from behind to secure a 20-19 victory and their place in the second round, culminating in a penalty at the death to turn a 19-17 deficit into that 20-19 victory. Enjoying their best season in years, they will be relishing a trip to Hampton, who will doubtless be excited about their arrival too.
Champions Trophy Quarter Final Draw (to be played w/c 4th November):
Blundell’s v Epsom College
Hampton v Uppingham
Rugby v Oakham
Wellington College v Dulwich College
Champions Trophy Round 2:
Rugby 45-0 RGS Guildford
St Paul’s 6-15 Blundell’s (See Report Here)
Oakham 25-19 Clifton College
Berkhamsted 0-38 Hampton
Hurstpierpoint College 19-20 Uppingham (See Report Here)
Kingswood 26-56 Wellington College
Epsom College 31-12 Bristol Grammar
Dulwich College 24-13 St John’s, Leatherhead (See Report Here)
Champions Trophy Round 1:
Bedford 7-66 Rugby
Clifton College 24-18 Monmouth
Hampton 24-15 Tonbridge
RGS Guildford 17-3 Bryanston
St Paul’s v BYE
Oakham v BYE
Berkhamsted v BYE
Hurstpierpoint College v BYE
Bristol GS v BYE
Kingswood v BYE
Blundell’s v BYE
St John’s, Leatherhead v BYE
Epsom College v BYE
Dulwich College v BYE
Uppingham v BYE
Wellington College v BYE
Image via Bee Sharkey