As half term fast approaches we were treated to a glorious final full weekend of this first stage of the school season.
There were some big upsets and even bigger performances as sides game everything on what was a pretty wet and wild weekend for many teams across the country.
Our ten ‘Focus On’ games certainly provided plenty of entertainment and story lines, and it is there that we start our review of the weekend’s action, as every.
The story over the day from out Focus On fixture and probably across the entire set of fixtures, to be honest, was surely Bromsgrove’s 28-19 home defeat of Rugby. Rugby, side that had been all conquering up to the point, sweeping aside everyone in their path, including a 45-0 victory in the Champions Trophy in midweek.
Maybe there was a slight hangover from that, maybe not, what was certain though that one of the games of the season was unfolding as the intensity reached fever pitch. Bromsgrove’s pack were utterly resilient in the face of that dominant Rugby pack that we have all heard so much of, while in the backs it was all about clinical and precise play when the opportunities came. At half time the home side led 21-10. Heading into the last 15 minutes Rugby launched everything at their hosts, but they refused to crack, holding out for a 28-19 victory with players from both sides littered across the pitch after surely the most intense physical battle of the season.
Elsewhere Dulwich College were celebrating their 400th anniversary with a game against their oldest opponents, Bedford. Live streamed and in front of a whopping crowd Dulwich were calm under the pressure and backed up that midweek Champions Trophy victory with a 23-10 victory to help keep the momentum of those celebrations high, and keeping them full of confidence ahead of next week’s St Joseph’s Festival.
Millfield will also now be heading there brimming with confidence, a little wobble was arrested last week against Bromsgrove and then turned utterly on its head on Saturday with a 28-17 victory over Sherborne, a side that has been absolutely dominant all season to date. An absolutely fantastic afternoon’s work from Millfield.
One of the sides that had got the better of them earlier in the season was RGS High Wycombe, and they were at it again on Saturday with a last play score to take down another top side, this time in the form of Brighton College. A wet and muddy affair, think the famous Fran Cotton photo, the hosts stuck to their task well to once again show the watching school rugby world what the can do and doing so dramatically to take it in the last play.
Clifton College bounced back from their midweek loss in the Champions Trophy to Oakham. After being so dominant through the season to that point though, Tuesday’s defeat was a big test, and they were tested again by a determined Bristol Grammar side on Saturday, crucially though the hosts held out to a 15-12 victory that reflects an afternoon’s good work from both sides.
Barnard Castle’s extraordinary first half of term concluded with yet another victory, sending them on holiday next week unbeaten thanks to a 24-0 home victory over a strong Lancaster RGS side.
Epsom College have been equally good and were in sparkling form in a tough game at home to Harrow on Saturday, securing a 17-7 victory to send them into half term with a perfect record, and with plenty of time to prepare for their Champions Trophy quarter final at Blundell’s after the half term break.
Also on fire on Saturday were Hampton, who seem to be in sensational form at the moment. Only Cranleigh have beaten them so far and, as if to underline that strength, they inflicted a first defeat of the season on Seaford College on Saturday, doing some in some style too for a 31-5 victory.
They will be soaring when they arrive at St Joseph’s next weekend, and so will Denstone College who were in sparkling form once again this season on their way to a stunning 43-14 defeat of Woodhouse Grove, further evidence, if needed, of just what a strong side they are.
The only side they have lost to are Sedbergh, and for the third year in a row the Cumbrian’s are looking close to unstoppable. A trip to St Peter’s York was Saturday’s challenge, a St Peter’s York side that has really been impressing. Once again though this ruthless Sedbergh outfit just had far to much, securing a 59-12 victory. It leaves them on the brink of an unbeaten first half of term, but first comes one of the most hotly anticipated game of the entire season on Friday when they host Blackrock College, probably the most prestigious rugby school in Ireland, certainly one of the most well known schools in global rugby, it should be an awesome occasion.
Around the Grounds
Surely the game of the day turned out to be in Cambridge, where The Leys and Bishop’s Stortford College held each other to an extraordinary 44-44 draw. A quite incredible result! Things were tight at Skinners’ too, if not quite as mad as they had been further north, then held Hurstpierpoint College to a 13-13 draw.
Cranleigh’s wonderful form continues, their latest outstanding effort being a 41-0 victory at Eastbourne College sending the visitors into half term unbeaten.
Wellington College have looked every inch as good too, and were in fantastic form again on Saturday to secure a 33-12 victory at Eton College, a result that should keep them full of confidence heading into the first St Joseph’s Festival in over a deceade.
Like Wellington, Blundell’s made it through to the Champions Trophy quarter finals last week and they backed that up with a 31-3 victory at Kingswood on Saturday, albeit it in a game slightly overshadowed by having to finish early due to a Kingswood injury – thoughts here all with the injured player, all the best.
Mount St Mary’s were on song on Saturday, a 44-10 victory away at Giggleswick the perfect bounce back from last week’s tough outing against Kirkham Grammar. Speaking of Kirkham Grammar, their sensational season just continues on and on, Saturday seeing them defeat Manchester Grammar 31-12 away from home.
Berkhamsted and Felsted were in a real scrap on Saturday, Berkhamsted just emerging on top by a solitary point at 15-14 after a really absorbing contest. Things were close over at St Albans too, where they defeat Campion 14-8 in another game that was completely compelling.
Elsewhere Cheadle Hulme continue to gather admirers, Saturday seeing them defeat Liverpool College 33-5. While Dean Close also continue to impressive, they travelled to a strong Sir Thomas Rich’s side and yet still came away with a hugely impressive 33-15 victory.
Surely one of the greatest performances of the day though, perhaps this half of term, came in Yorkshire. Bradford Grammar School travelled to Grammar School at Leeds and found themselves 21-0 down after just 25 minutes. Somehow they managed, through sheer strength of character and no little skill, to turn that around and secure a 36-26 victory.
Cheltenham College again were fantastic, a 55-12 victory over St Edward’s Oxford another one of many brilliant performances this half term. Canford also continued their superb form, picking up a 41-7 victory at Taunton School.
Bloxham made it two wins in the week with an excellent 41-17 effort at The Oratory, a try behind after less than a minute they managed to wear down a strong oratory defence in torrid conditions to come through. Right win Charlie Yates earning huge plaudits for a hat trick in the face of conditions well suited to the sort of rugby that would see him starved of possession.
If Stamford were feeling great last week after that dramatic victory against Uppingham, they must be absolutely flying now after a brilliant 22-12 victory away at Warwick on Saturday, a victory that caps a brilliant opening half of term for them. So too Newcastle School for Boys, who were in brilliant form in a 64-7 victory at Yarm.
There was also some Schools Plate action on Saturday. In Midlands A Worksop College beat Trent College 31-15 to set up a home tie against the champions, Bloxham, next round. Meanwhile in London & South East B Eltham College were in great form for a 49-12 defeat of Colfe’s that will see them host Langley Park next time out.
Friday was a busy day, not least in Cobham where Reed’s and St George’s College Weybridge threw themselves into their massive local rivalry. It was Reed’s that came out on top this year, winning 12-5 in a really tight game. St John’s Leatherhead meanwhile quickly bounced back from their midweek Champions Trophy defeat with a 22-13 victory over Trinity.
One of the biggest games of the day was the Border Cup, between Malvern College and Monmouth with the two located, appropriately enough, either side of the Anglo-Welsh border. Malvern College put in a top performance in a realy cracking game for a 21-15 victory, but there was also exciting rugby at all other levels, not least at U13 were there were some stunning tries – not least at 28.55 in the linked video.
Elsewhere Wirral Grammar were again in impressive form as they secured a 38-5 victory away at St Anselm’s College, while in the Schools Bowl Wallington County Grammar claimed a 24-7 victory at Orleans Park.
Please do get in touch with your stories, photos, videos, reports, and opinions from the week’s rugby! It all makes a massive difference and allows us to feature your school and your team! You can get in touch via any of the below methods:
Schools Rugby Results – Saturday 12th October:
Barnard Castle 24-0 Lancaster RGS
Bromsgrove 28-19 Rugby
Clifton College 15-12 Bristol GS
Denstone College 43-14 Woodhouse Grove
Dulwich College 23-10 Bedford
Epsom College 17-7 Harrow
Hampton 31-5 Seaford College
Millfield 28-17 Sherborne
RGS High Wycombe 17-15 Brighton College
St Peter’s, York 12-59 Sedbergh
Berkhamsted 15-14 Felsted
Bournemouth 10-15 KES Southampton
Cheadle Hulme 33-5 Liverpool College
Cheltenham College 55-12 St Edward’s, Oxford
Christ College 17-16 Wellignton School
Christ’s Hospital 3-20 Caterham
The Crypt 28-15 KES Stratford
Downside 43-0 Wells Cathedral
Durham 25-15 Ampleforth College
Eastbourne College 0-41 Cranleigh
Eltham College 49-12 Colfe’s (Schools Plate)
Emanuel 15-3 London Oratory
Eton College 12-33 Wellington College
Exeter 38-0 King’s Bruton
Giggleswick 10-44 Mount St Mary’s College
Gordon’s 7-0 Latymer Upper
Grammar School at Leeds 26-36 Bradford GS
Judd 5-29 RGS Guildford
Kent College 5-22 Ashford
KES Bath 24-17 Colston’s
KES Birmingham 10-48 King’s Worcester
King’s Canterbury 12-14 Simon Langton GS
King’s College, Taunton 24-31 Bryanston
King’s Gloucester 23-7 Cathedral School, Llandaff
King Henry VIII, Coventry 14-47 Northampton SfB
Kingswood 3-31 Blundell’s
The Leys 44-44 Bishop’s Stortford College
Loughborough GS 26-12 Bedford Modern
Magdalen College 26-8 Portsmouth GS
Maidstone GS 19-0 Sir Joseph Williamson’s
Manchester GS 12-31 Kirkham GS
Merchant Taylors’ 12-7 Aylesbury GS
New Hall 29-24 Ipswich
Old Swinford Hospital 17-13 Solihull
The Oratory 17-41 Bloxham
Pangbourne College 14-22 Dauntsey’s
Princethorpe College 17-19 RGS Worcester
Prior Park College 7-38 QEH
Queen’s College, Taunton 22-10 Clayesmore
QES Barnet 21-17 St Columba’s College
Reading Blue Coat 41-22 Churcher’s College
Royal Hospital School 38-5 Framlingham College
Ryde 12-29 Lord Wandsworth College
Sir Thomas Rich’s 15-33 Dean Close
Skinners’ 13-13 Hurspierpoint College
St Albans 14-8 Campion
St Lawrence 21-15 Cranbrook
St Peter’s, Gloucester 7-46 Bishop Vesey’s GS
Strathallan 36-24 Glenalmond College
Taunton 7-41 Canford
UCS 19-12 Shiplake College
Warwick 12-22 Stamford
Wellingborough 19-24 Bablake
West Buckland 7-31 Mount Kelly
Whitgift 2nd XV 33-33 Sutton Valence
Wisbech GS 10-42 Ratcliffe College
Worksop College 31-15 Trent College (Schools Plate)
Worth 0-30 Reigate GS
Wycliffe College 39-19 Monkton Combe
Yarm 7-64 Newcastle SfB
Malvern College 21-15 Monmouth
Orleans Park 7-24 Wallington CGS (Schools Bowl)
Reed’s 12-5 St George’s College, Weybridge
St Anselm’s College 5-38 Wirral GS
St John’s Leatherhead 22-13 Trinity
Still to Come:
Bancroft’s v Richard Hale
Bedstone College v Abraham Darby
Hymers College v Ashville College
Plymouth College v Truro
Rydal Penrhos v St Davids College
Shebbear College v Milton Abbey
St Ignatius College v St Edmund’s College
The Perse v Bishop’s Stortford HS