Before an epic weekend of school rugby gets underway, including the St Joseph’s Festival, Merchiston Castle U18 Tri Nations Festival, and some epic standalone games including Sedbergh v Blackrock College, there’s just time to reflect on an awesome week of rugby.
With plenty of schools heading off for half term today and tomorrow, a good number took the opportunity to pack in some fixtures during the week, giving us a strong set of games to look back on.
The week started quietly with just three games on Tuesday but they were three important games, in the Schools Bowl Bournemouth and Birkdale made it though, beating Clayesmore and Adams Grammar respectively, it was a tough old shift for Birkdale though, winning it 17-14 away from home. Elsewhere Monmouth took on Crawshay’s Welsh XV and in an enjoyable game they took home the spoils, 20-10.
Wednesday was a huge day, punctuated by two key games in the Schools Cup as two former champions were in action. Bromsgrove, champions in 2015 and 2016, were in action away at former finalists Old Swinford Hospital, who put up a serious fight. The former champions were made to work so hard, but showed their strength to come through for a 26-17 victory.
In the same section, Midlands A, Warwick were in action at Solihull. Warwick were champions in 2007, 2017, and 2018, and reached last year’s final, and though Solihull pushed them hard, the former champions showed their experience and quality to secure a 19-9 victory. Both Bromsgrove and Warwick now have away ties in the regional semi finals, to Lymm High School and Mount St Mary’s College respectively, win those and they are into a regional semi final against one another.
There was also plenty of Schools Plate action on Wednesday, Bradford Grammar are into the North A regional semi finals after a 57-12 victory at Giggleswick, while in Midlands A 29-5 victory at Sir John Deane’s College sees King’s Worcester into the regional final. Meanwhile in South West B Bishop Wordsworth’s also booked a regional final spot, beating Portsmouth Grammar 40-7 away from home. In the Schools Vase, meanwhile, Bablake were 57-26 victors over Queen Mary’s Grammar.
Wednesday night saw a particularly special occasion as Berkhamsted and Cranleigh met at Saracens’ Allianz Park. Both are excellent sides, but Cranleigh came into the game unbeaten to date and looking like one of the very best in the country. That form shone through under the lights of Allianz Park’s new look setup, as they performed superbly in both attack and defence for a 31-3 victory.
Elsewhere Newcastle-Under-Lyme won a tight game at Bishop Heber, 26-22, while Bishop Vesey’s Grammar took a 4710 victory at home to The Crypt, with Brenwtood winning a tight one at Bancroft’s, 24-21.
In Wales there was plenty of tension as Christ College came through for a 19-13 victory over Gowerton, while back in England Gordon’s and Claremount both ran out fairly comfortable victors in their games. Cokethorpe meanwhile secured a 25-12 victory over King’s Gloucester.
Wimbledon College have been in determined mood all term and proved that again on Wednesday with their 59-20 defeat of Tiffin, while, staying in the South East, St Olave’s secured an impressive 52-5 victory over St Dunstan’s, and St Albans beat St Columba’s 43-5. Perhaps most exciting of all though was a 17-17 draw between Maidstone Grammar and Hayes. Langley Park, meanwhile, were 24-10 victors over Simon Langton.
Elsewhere there was a fantastic derby game between The Oratory and Pangbourne College, played in great spirit with The Oratory winning a thrilling game 29-22. Princethorpe College were also on form, 28-10 over KES Five Ways, while Richard Challoner were 28-5 to the good over Royal Alexandra & Albert. Perhaps the most thrilling of all though was a 34-33 victory at Stockport Grammar for Ermysted’s Grammar, a thrillingly tense game.
Thursday was a big day as a number of huge names from the opening half a term of rugby were in action, squeezing that last game in before the break.
One side that have been hugely impressive so far are Haileybury, and on Thursday they recorded a 36-17 victory over Bedford, their first since 2005, to end the first half of term unbeaten. Securing the block victory at the same time.
A strong start was the key, an early try by Ehimen Osebor, some extended pressure and a beautiful break and finish by the stand in fly-half Will Reed put them 12-0 up. Haileybury eased off and squandered a few chances and Bedford team struck back with a good try and conversion. Tariq Wild struck back though with a good individual try from full back to give his side a 19-7 half time lead.
The Hertfordshire side started the second half strongly and scored a fine try through Oliver Firth who finished off another scything break from Reed. Bedford had their best spell of the match to go get back to 26-17 and looked like they could turn it around. But Haileybury weren’t to be outdone and added another try from Wild. Jack Barnes added 3 conversions and a penalty and Harry Jinks got one conversion to complete the scoring. Will Reed took man of the match, with captain Callum Mcgurk also outstanding.
Elsewhere Oakham’s form carried on, they ought to be feeling hugely confident having beaten Clifton to reach the Champions Trophy quarter finals, and it looked that way against Gresham’s as they secured a 48-7 victory.
Hurstpierpoint College picked up their first victory of the season, 26-20 against Worth and with plenty of players resting ahead of the St Joseph’s Festival. St Lawrence College meanwhile beat Sir Roger Manwood’s 36-21 and Kingswood were 41-29 victors over Cathedral School, Llandaff.
Eton College secured their second victory of the season, and an impressive one it was too, beating old rivals Radley College 29-12 away from home. Royal Hospital School have been in absolutely brilliant form this year and signed off for the break in signature style, beating RGS Colchester 22-5.
In the Cheshire Cup semi finals Lymm High School secured their place in the final with a simply superb 63-10 defeat of Altrincham Grammar. The other semi final was pushed back due to injury.
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Schools Rugby Midweek Results:
Bournemouth 40-15 Clayesmore (Schools Bowl)
Adams GS 14-17 Birkdale (Schools Bowl)
Monmouth 20-10 Crawshay’s Welsh XV
Bablake 57-26 Queen Mary’s GS (Schools Vase)
Berkhamsted 3-31 Cranleigh – Allianz Park
Bishop Heber HS 22-26 Newcastle-Under-Lyme
Bishop Vesey’s GS 47-10 The Crypt
Brentwood 24-21 Bancroft’s
Christ College 19-13 Gowerton
Claire’s Court 8-35 Gordon’s
Claremount 17-0 Dunottar
Cokethorpe 25-12 King’s Gloucester
Emmanuel College 22-19 Newcastle SfB
Giggleswick 12-57 Bradford GS (Schools Plate)
Hampton 2nd XV 24-19 UCS
Langley Park 24-10 Simon Langton GS
Maidstone GS 17-17 Hayes
Old Swinford Hospital 17-26 Bromsgrove (Schools Cup)
The Oratory 29-22 Pangbourne College
Portsmouth GS 7-40 Bishop Wordsworth’s (Schools Plate)
Princethorpe College 28-10 KES Five Ways
Royal Alexandra & Albert 5-28 Richard Challoner
Sir John Deane’s College 5-29 King’s Worcester (Schools Plate)
Solihull 9-19 Warwick (Schools Cup)
St Albans 43-5 St Columba’s
St George’s, Harpenden v Watford GS – TBA
St Olave’s GS 52-5 St Dunstan’s
Stockport GS 33-34 Ermysted’s GS
Wimbledon College 59-20 Tiffin
Altrincham GS 10-63 Lymm HS (County Cup Semi)
Bedford 17-36 Haileybury
Cathedral School, Llandaff 29-41 Kingswood
Hurstpierpoint College 26-20 Worth
Oakham 48-7 Gresham’s
Radley College 12-29 Eton College
RGS Colchester 5-22 Royal Hospital School
Sir Roger Manwood’s 21-36 St Lawrence College