After three weekends of the 2018/19 Schools Rugby season, we are starting to see some patterns emerge – chief among which is the standard of rugby.
We are also starting to see which sides are looking like consistent performers, which are really impressing with the spirit, and who is featuring in some brilliantly entertaining games.
This weekend saw a few surprises and a few sides confirm what the early suspicions of the first couple of weeks were hinting at, all leaving us once again aglow after a superb weekend of schools rugby.
Our ten ‘Focus On’ fixtures certainly provided plenty of talking points, not least Sedbergh, who put on a stunning show at Keele University against Bedford. Last season’s high flyers are looking every bit as impressive as last year as they stormed to a 60-0 victory, that’s 112 points in four days by the way. With a four out of four record and some stunning rugby, they are looking good. For Bedford it was a tough afternoon, but they ought to rest easy, knowing that they will come up against few sides of this caliber.
Clifton College are not looking too far behind Sedbergh though, they hosted St Edward’s Oxford on Saturday and made it three wins from three with an excellent performance for a 33-0 victory, a perfect way to prepare for entertaining the England training squad this week.
Epsom College bounced back from defeat to Dulwich College last week with a display of huge spirit against Cranleigh, a top side in their own right. They secured a 25-8 advantage to claim their second victory of the season.
Dulwich meanwhile capitalised on the momentum gained against Epsom last week with an outstanding performance against Harrow on Saturday. The reigning Champions Trophy champions but on a show for their home support to secure a 31-0 victory.
Staying in the London area, Hampton welcomed Bromsgrove on Saturday in a much anticipated game. Hampton have looked good through the early part of the season but came unstuck against a Bromsgrove side that has bounced back exceptionally well after an opening day defeat, winning two on the bounce now thanks to a 10-3 effort at Hampton.
Among those once again looking set for another outstanding year are Kirkham Grammar School. They travelled to Sir Thomas Rich’s on Saturday, who have had a very good start to their season, for what was probably their toughest game of the season so far – a season that had yielded two wins from two to that point. They performed brilliantly, securing a 36-8 victory against a side that will claim more than just the odd scalp this year.
School games at exciting neutral venues are always a thrill, and St John’s Leatherhead v Brighton College was exactly that on Saturday as they travelled to Harlequins’ training ground, Surrey Sports Park, for their fixture. A cracking game ensued between two excellent sides, with Brighton just about taking control for a close 24-17 victory to maintain their unbeaten start.
One performance that particularly impressed us was that of RGS High Wycombe. They did not win, but in losing 19-17 to St Paul’s they showed brilliant resilience after a really tough result last week. For St Paul’s part, it was a fine victory in its own right, continuing a tale of resilience of their own having won two from two after a really tough opening week of their own.
Stamford were another side to impress on Saturday, they lost by the narrowest possible of margins to local rivals Oakham last week but were in cracking form on Saturday away at Stowe for a very good 21-3 victory.
Among the most impressive this weekend were Wellington College. Particularly when bearing in mind the form of Sedbergh. Sedbergh beat Whitgift on the opening weekend thanks to a try at the death. On Saturday Wellington travelled to Whitgift themselves and came away with an enormously impressive 36-10 victory, they are certainly on the radar once again.
Around the Grounds
The rest of the country was certainly treated to some very special rugby outside of our ten Focus On fixtures. Berkhamsted continued their extremely impressive start to the season with a 30-0 win at home to KCS Wimbledon, while Portsmouth Grammar enjoyed a smashing win over a big name over at Canford, 31-5.
Bishop Wordsworth’s put on one of the displays of the weekend with a stunning 72-3 victory over Pangbourne College, while Caterham’s outstanding unbeaten start to the season continued with an excellent 46-5 victory over a good Shiplake College side.
In the South West there were some excellent performances, among them Colston’s continued impressive start to the season, which saw them beat Malvern College 19-7. Another side in the region that are continuing to impress early on at Downside, they carried that run on with a 17-3 victory over Bryanston. Meanwhile Kingswood and Bristol Grammar shared a 12-12 draw.
Moving north, Woodhouse Grove continue to suggest that they really are a side to pay close attention to this season, they carried on their unbeaten start with an excellent 45-5 effort at Pocklington. Worksop College were also in the points, posting 59 to King’s Grantham’s 8. Things were closer elsewhere though, Durham enjoyed an incredibly intense and impressive win at St Peter’s, York, 19-7, you can see highlights of that game here: Durham v St Peter’s York. Stonyhurst College meanwhile just edged out Bradford Grammar, 22-21, and it was just as close at Lancaster RGS as they beat Grammar School at Leeds 13-12.
The South East saw some impressive performances from away sides, not least Seaford College, Wallington Country Grammar, and a Bloxham side that looks very dangerous this year. Bloxham and Wallington went past the forty points mark, while Seaford posted an impressive 63 at Lord Wandsworth College.
Things were closer at Hurstpierpoint College, where the hosts edged to a 15-14 victory over Reed’s, Oundle meanwhile enjoyed a 16-5 win away at Haileybury. Eltham College’s quietly impressive start to the season carries on too, they beat Ravens Wood 27-7.
There was also some action in the Schools Cup on Saturday, and if it is a sign of things to come over the course of the rest of the first round this week (you can see our preview here: U18 Schools Cup Preview), we are in for a very special few days of rugby! It saw St Joseph’s College host Norwich and the two simply could not be separated, playing out an incredibly exciting and nail-biting 22-22 draw, sending Norwich through to the second round by the tightest possible of margins.
After Abingdon v Denstone College was cancelled on Friday night, just one Friday game was scheduled, St Peter’s Gloucester v Monmouth. There is something very special about Friday night games, and held at Cinderford RFC this one was no different. It was as tense as it gets, finishing up in a well earned 18-18 draw, with both sides having contributed superbly.
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 22nd September
Bedford 0-60 Sedbergh (Keele University)
Clifton College 33-0 St Edward’s, Oxford
Cranleigh 8-25 Epsom College
Dulwich College 31-0 Harrow
Hampton 3-10 Bromsgrove
Sir Thomas Rich’s 8-36 Kirkham GS
St John’s, Leatherhead 17-24 Brighton College (Surrey Sports Park)
St Paul’s 19-17 RGS High Wycombe
Stowe 3-21 Stamford
Whitgift 10-36 Wellington College
Ashford 3-43 King’s Rochester
Austin Friars 40-12 Dame Allan’s
Bablake 31-14 Ratcliffe College
Berkhamsted 30-0 KCS Wimbledon
Bishop Vesey’s GS 29-19 Loughborough GS
Bishop Wordsworth’s 72-3 Pangbourne College
Brentwood 48-29 Ipswich
Canford 5-31 Portsmouth GS
Cardinal Vaughan 5-24 Latymer Upper
Caterham 46-5 Shiplake College
Churcher’s College 22-0 Gordon’s
Colston’s 19-7 Malvern College
Downside 17-3 Bryanston
Eltham College 27-7 Ravens Wood
Haileybury 5-16 Oundle
Hurstpierpoint College 15-14 Reed’s
John Fisher 10-7 Skinners’
KES Bath 24-3 Dauntsey’s
King’s Bruton 7-5 Wellington School
King’s Canterbury 15-3 Sir Joseph Williamson’s
King’s College, Taunton 5-24 Blundell’s
King’s Gloucester 10-19 Hereford Cathedral
Kingswood 12-12 Bristol GS
Kirkham GS 2nd XV 12-48 St Ambrose College
Lancaster RGS 13-12 Grammar School at Leeds
London Oratory 57-0 Gunnersbury
Lord Wandsworth College 3-63 Seaford College
Lymm HS 29-5 Haberdasher Adams
Maidstone GS 25-17 Cranbrook
Manchester GS 22-24 Merchant Taylors’ Crosby
Milton Abbey 7-0 Wells Cathedral
Nottingham HS 25-29 KES Stratford
The Perse 0-12 Framlingham College
Pocklington 5-45 Woodhouse Grove
Princethorpe College 7-14 Leicester GS
QEH 5-5 Exeter
QES Barnet 23-12 Bedford Modern
Reading Blue Coat 19-23 City of London Freemen’s
Reigate GS 0-47 Wallington CGS
Rydal Penrhos 5-40 Giggleswick
Silcoates 5-28 Ashville College
Solihull 22-17 Northampton School for Boys
St Albans 7-46 Bloxham
St Dunstan’s College 0-66 Chislehurst & Sidcup GS
St George’s College, Weybridge 25-6 St Benedict’s
St Joseph’s College 22-22 Norwich (Schools Cup)
St Olave’s GS 14-17 Coopers’ Coborn
St Peter’s, York 17-19 Durham
Stonyhurst College 22-21 Bradford GS
Taunton 14-5 Plymouth College
Tiffin 12-46 Emanuel
Tonbridge 18-6 Judd
Trent College 0-19 Old Swinford Hospital
Trinity 0-27 Campion
Wellingborough 31-5 St Columba’s College
Wilmslow HS 28-0 Ellesmere College
Wimbledon College 19-19 RGS Guildford
Wisbech Grammar School 33-12 King’s Ely
Woodbridge 7-41 RGS Colchester
Worksop College 59-8 King’s Grantham
Quadrangular: Queen’s College Taunton, Clayesmore, Shebbear, Milton Abbey
Monmouth 18-18 St Peter’s, Gloucester (Cinderford RFC)
Still to Come:
Audenshaw v Crossley Heath
Cheadle Hulme v Calday Grange GS
Gravesend GS v Kent College
The Leys v Langley
Mill Hill v Haberdashers’
Mount St Mary’s College v Hymers College
Queen Ethelburga’s v Birkdale
St George’s Harpenden v Richard Hale
St Lawrence College v Chatham & Clarendon GS
St Mary’s College v Liverpool College
Wrekin College v Abraham Darby