It seemed almost greedy to expect another spectacular weekend of schools rugby after the opening weekend delivered in such style, but that was exactly what we got.
From some truly outstanding performances, to dramatic last minute victories, and passionate derby games, this weekend had everything – and once again exciting top quality rugby was at the core of it.
Just two weeks in, we are starting to see a few patterns emerge and with that comes huge amount of anticipation for the rest of the season to come.
Our ten ‘Focus On’ fixtures delivered in style as a number of teams bounced back from difficult opening fixtures, while others put on performances that will have the whole of the schools rugby world watching on with interest, others simply served up some spectacular games of rugby.
Cranleigh were in flying from against Abingdon. Having lost out in their massive opening round clash against Brighton College, last year’s Rosslyn Park finalists bounced back spectacularly for a 50-19 victory.
Rugby School meanwhile continued right where they left off against King’s Macclesfield last week, travelling to Bedford, always a strong side, and delivering an outstanding 43-17 victory.
One of the most anticipated matches of the weekend was the derby between Brighton College and Hurstpierpoint College. With Hurstpierpoint having won the game last year and started the season with a win over Tonbridge they had plenty of reason to feel confident, but Brighton had begun with a win over major rivals Cranleigh and seem a side to look out for. An attritional derby game followed, with the lead changing hands a few times. Brighton College had the lead in the closing stages though at 24-23 and removed any doubt with a late try for a 31-23 victory to make it a strong 2/2 start to the season.
Dulwich College v Epsom College was hotly anticipated too, a derby of sorts, and featuring two sides that had performed well in the opening week. Dulwich had lost narrowly to Wellington College while Epsom College had been on fire against St Paul’s. A cracking game of rugby ensued, tight throughout, but it was an impressive 18-8 victory from Dulwich, getting them back on track after last week’s defeat.
Another side back on track are Felsted, and in some style too. With their unbeaten 1978 side enjoying a reunion as they 1st XV took on Haileybury, who began with a win last week, Felsted avenged their tight loss to Norwich last week with a spectacular performance that saw them run out as 45-7 winners in a game that was expected to be a very tight contest.
Speaking of spectacular performances, Millfield were one again in simply stunning form as they hosted RGS High Wycombe. Having been in flying form against Canford last week Millfield picked up where they left off, completing a staggering 80-0 victory over RGS, who by all accounts were an enormously determined side who simply came up against a team that has kicked off this season playing sensational rugby.
At the other end of the scale came a brilliantly close derby batch between Stamford and Oakham. Oakham had kicked off their season with a derby win over Uppingham, while Stamford had beaten Nottingham High, but neither was as tight as this. It finished up 28-27 to Oakham, with a Stamford penalty in the last play just not quite having the legs for the win. It was a true showing of just what schools rugby is all about – great passion, excellent play, and plenty of drama!
Marlborough College’s season is off to a strong start, a win at home to Stowe last week kicked things off nicely, before they travelled to St Edward’s Oxford on Saturday. It was Teddies’ first game of the season and hammer away as they might, Marlborough ultimately just had enough to take the 22-13 victory and a strong two from two start to the season.
Another hugely anticipated game was Warwick v Harrow. The Schools Cup champions against the side that went through last season unbeaten. A typically high quality game of rugby followed, but it was the home side that had enough in the tank for the win, and a strong win at that, beating the men from North West London 27-12.
Our final game in our ‘Focus On’ series this weekend was a big Yorkshire derby between Woodhouse Grove and QEGS Wakefield. Woodhouse had started their season with a superb victory over St Peter’s York, a side that have been very good recently, while QEGS had been surprised a little by Lancaster RGS. Nevertheless a tight contest was expected, after all QEGS were Schools Cup finalists last year. Woodhouse Grove were in fantastic shape though, securing an excellent 31-12 victory to kick their season off with back to back wins against two of the strongest sides on their circuit.
Around the Grounds
Around the rest of the country outside of those ten games there was a great deal of excellent rugby too. Berkhamsted showed their class with a stuning 54-15 win over Eton College, while Bloxham were on fire in a 52-0 win over Malvern College, who gave Cheltenham a good game last week, remember. Cheltenham College themselves were in great form too, beating Stowe 30-0, they are yet to concede a point this season.
There was a stunning game in the North East as Newcastle School for Boys and Austin Friars split 91 points, Newcastle taking the win 50-41. Durham meanwhile were back to winning ways with a tight 15-13 victory at home to Grammar School at Leeds.
Downside are off to a fast start a 42-12 victory over Monkton Combe kicking off their season nicely. Colston’s, meanwhile, showed up well in their triangular and look like that was no fluke as they scored fifty again RGS Worcester, 54-28. Eltham College’s good start continued, meanwhile, they beat Campion 19-10.
The Oratory enjoyed a brilliant 50-0 win at KES Southampton, while there was a spectacular game at KES Camp Hill as Bablake took victory, 47-43. Caterham’s winning start continues, they won 30-21 at King’s Canterbury, Judd meanwhile bounced back well after defeat last week, beating Brentwood 47-7.
Things could not have been tighter at King’s Macclesfield as they drew 24-24 with Lancaster RGS, these two sides look strong this year. Langley bounced back after defeat last week for a strong win at Leicester Grammar, meanwhile up in Scotland Merchiston Castle put in a sparkling performance to beat old rivals Stewart’s Melville.
The Leys could not quite repeat last week’s heroics but were in a brilliantly tight game of rugby against Gresham’s, who edged the win 8-5. St Benedict’s were in good nick, a 43-12 win at London Oratory their reward.
Kirkham Grammar School are a side to watch, as everyone knows, and their perfect start to the season continued on Saturday with a 36-12 win at Northampton School for Boys. Nottingham High School are performing well, they beat Bishop Vesey’s, who were absolutely flying last week, 21-17 – a very impressive win.
Norwich began the season with a win over Felsted and they showed that that performance was no one off on Saturday as the put Royal Hospital School to the sword, beating them 46-0 in a very impressive display.
Bromsgrove recovered from defeat to Warwick last week with a 24-26 win over Oundle, meanwhile Oundle’s great rivals, Uppingham, bounced back from their derby defeat to Oakham last week with a good showing at The Perse, winning 26-5. Meanwhile in the South West Blundell’s entered the fray for the first time this year as they secured a 15-8 win at Plymouth College, while Radley College began well in Oxford, they were 22-15 victors at home to Sherborne.
Sedbergh, we know, are a side to keep an eye on. They made it two from two with a good 31-18 win at RGS Newcastle, who deserve plenty of credit for their determined performance. The side that Sedbergh beat in that opening game with that last second try, Whitgift, were in sensational form on Saturday as they travelled to Seaford College for a 43-5 victory. Sevenoaks were similarly impressive, beating Worth 62-8. The derby between Shiplake College and Reading Blue Coat, which started a debate on twitter on Friday as to what exactly the closest derby in the country is, was a far closer game, with Reading Blue Coat taking it 27-14.
Clifton College began well last week and remain a side to keep an eye on after they travelled to a good Sir Thomas Rich’s side and came away with a 31-5 victory. Denstone College are also enjoying a fine start to the season after they backed up last week’s win with a 31-25 victory at Solihull. At the other end of the scale in terms of winning margin, St Ambrose were sensational, beating Hutton 63-0. So too Sevenoaks with a quite brilliant 62-8 victory over Worth.
St Paul’s deserve enormous credit for bouncing back after a hard opening day defeat, they played well on Saturday for a 25-12 win over Bishop Wordsworth’s. So too St Peter’s York, who won 36-12 at Worksop College.
The Croydon derby, meanwhile, turned out to be a classic. Trinity and John Fisher were incredibly closely matched but it was the away side, John Fisher, who just came away with the win, 22-20 and bragging rights in their particular derby.
There were a number of triangulars this weekend, with West Buckland, Tonbridge, and Duke of York’s Royal Military School all hosting though the results are yet to come through.
Meanwhile on Friday there were wins for Hartpury College, Mount St Mary’s, and Warminster, while at Allianz Park there was a cracking derby between Mill Hill and St Albans, with Mill Hill taking it 13-7.
All in all, another spectacular weekend of schools rugby!
A reminder that we welcome any photos, videos, and reports from your school’s games – the more the merrier! You can send them in to us via any of the methods below:
Schools Rugby Weekend Results – Saturday 15th September:
Abingdon 19-50 Cranleigh
Bedford 17-43 Rugby
Brighton College 31-23 Hurstpierpoint College
Dulwich College 18-8 Epsom College
Felsted 45-7 Haileybury
Millfield 80-0 RGS High Wycombe
Stamford 27-28 Oakham
St Edward’s, Oxford 13-22 Marlborough College
Warwick 27-12 Harrow
Woodhouse Grove 31-12 QEGS Wakefield
Ampleforth College 5-15 Dame Allan’s
Austin Friars 41-50 Newcastle School for Boys
Bedford Modern 3-36 Aylesbury GS
Bell Baxter 0-52 Glenalmond College
Berkhamsted 54-15 Eton College
Bishop’s Stortford HS 22-17 New Hall
Bloxham 52-0 Malvern College
Bolton 14-10 Liverpool College
Bristol GS 24-12 KES Bath
Campion 10-19 Eltham College
Cheltenham College 30-0 Stowe
Christ College, Brecon 36-5 Ellesmere College
City of London Freemen’s 6-14 Wimbledon College
Clayesmore 5-49 King’s Bruton
Colfe’s 41-10 Bancroft’s
Colston’s 54-28 RGS Worcester
Crossley Heath 10-24 Bradford GS
Culford 14-26 RGS Colchester
Dauntsey’s 17-15 Churcher’s College
Dollar Academy 21-15 Edinburgh Academy
Downside 42-12 Monkton Combe
Durham 15-13 Grammar School at Leeds
Enfield GS 24-36 Richard Hale
Glasgow Academy 15-33 Kelvinside Academy
Hitchin 55-17 Haberdashers’
Ipswich 17-20 Framlingham College
KES Camp Hill 43-47 Bablake
KES Southampton 0-50 The Oratory
King’s Canterbury 20-31 Caterham
King Henry VIII, Coventry 5-31 KES Stratford
King’s Macclesfield 24-24 Lancaster RGS
Kingswood 0-27 Taunton
Judd 47-7 Brentwood
Langley Park 17-25 Chislehurst & Sidcup GS
Latymer Upper 0-24 UCS
Leicester GS 10-67 Langley
The Leys 5-8 Gresham’s
London Oratory 12-43 St Benedict’s
Lord Wandsworth College 7-54 Portsmouth GS
Loughborough GS 31-21 Trent College
Maidstone GS 36-5 Gravesend GS
Manchester GS 36-29 Stockport GS
Merchant Taylors’ 32-3 KCS Wimbledon
Merchiston Castle 63-7 Stewart’s Melville
Northampton School for Boys 12-36 Kirkham GS
Norwich 46-0 Royal Hospital School
Nottingham HS 21-17 Bishop Vesey’s GS
Old Swinford Hospital 13-8 Monmouth
Oundle 12-24 Bromsgrove
The Perse 5-26 Uppingham
Plymouth College 8-15 Blundell’s
Prior Park College 7-31 King’s College, Taunton
Radley College 22-15 Sherborne
Ratcliffe College 20-17 Princethorpe College
Reed’s 10-41 RGS Guildford
RGS Newcastle 18-31 Sedbergh
Seaford College 5-43 Whitgift
Sevenoaks 62-8 Worth
Shiplake College 14-27 Reading Blue Coat
Sir Thomas Rich’s 5-31 Clifton College
Skinners’ 29-21 Eastbourne College
Solihull 25-31 Denstone College
St Ambrose College 63-0 Hutton GS
St George’s College, Weybridge 29-11 Pangbourne College
St Lawrence College 31-5 King’s Rochester
St Paul’s 25-12 Bishop Wordsworth’s
St Peter’s, Gloucester 5-15 King’s Worcester
Strathallan 12-48 George Watson’s
Sutton Valence 27-26 Christ’s Hospital
Tiffin 27-5 Wallington CGS
Trinity 20-22 John Fisher
Wellingborough 25-21 Wisbech GS
Wellington 32-22 QEH
Woodbridge 24-31 King’s Ely
Worksop College 12-36 St Peter’s, York
Wycliffe College 5-32 Hereford Cathedral
Yarm 26-10 Silcoates
West Buckland: Mount Kelly, West Buckland, Exeter School 2nd XV
Duke of York’s Royal Military School: Kent College, Ashford, Duke of York’s RMS
Tonbridge: St John’s Leatherhead, Hampton, Tonbridge
Hartpury College 27-0 Pate’s GS
Mill Hill 13-7 St Albans
Mount St Mary’s College 29-0 Birkdale
Warminster 24-0 Wells Cathedral
Still to come:
Ashville College v Harrogate GS
Bishop’s Stortford College v St Edmund’s College
Blundell’s 2nd XV v Queen’s College, Taunton
Cardinal Vaughan v Gunnersbury
Dundee HS v Robert Gordon’s College
Glyn v Reigate GS
Hymers College v Barnard Castle
KES Five Ways v KES Birmingham
QES Barnet v St Ignatius College
St Mary’s College v Rydal Penrhos
Truro v Ivybridge Community College
Watford GS v St Columba’s College
Wilmslow HS v Altrincham GS