This weekend was a key one in the school rugby season as we start to enter the final few weeks of the term.
There were vital games in the Daily Mail Trophy, which has now been blown open ahead of a key game on Wednesday, while one of the final few U18 Schools Cup last 16 fixtures of the year took place too.
We begin as ever with our ten ‘Focus On’ fixtures, which produced plenty of thrills this weekend.
Our list began with Brighton College, who once again demonstrated that they are in red hot form. Ever since the lead up to that magnificent St Joseph’s Festival triumph they have seemed unstoppable, indeed in their last four games they have completely shut out the opposition three times, including Saturday, where they beat John Fisher 47-0.
There were points on both sides down in the South West, where Blundell’s once again demonstrated the form that they are in ahead of their Champions Trophy final, beating Bristol Grammar School 44-24 away from home in a bit of a thriller.
Things were tighter in the West Midlands, where Clifton College picked up a vital win at Bromsgrove after a bit of a sticky patch, heading home with a 12-3 victory.
There were a couple of high scoring draws that drew plenty of excitement and showed just how competitive the school game is at the moment. Hampton and Sherborne played out a thrilling 24-24 draw in South West London, while over at Marlborough College there was another thriller as they held last year’s Schools Cup finalists, Bishop Wordsworth’s, to an equally exciting draw, 28-28.
The Daily Mail Trophy will almost certainly come down to either Sedbergh or Wellington College, who meet on Wednesday in a key game in the competition at Broadstreet RFC.
Wellington College’s ambitions were dealt a blow on Saturday though as their injury ravaged side went down 21-13 to a truly excellent Harrow performance, sending the North West Londoners right up the table. Sedbergh did their job to make Wednesday’s game even more pivotal, beating Woodhouse Grove 31-7, meaning a win on Wednesday will give them the chance to win the title if they can avoid defeat in their other remaining games.
Over in the Schools Cup there was a key last 16 game between Stonyhurst College and King’s Macclesfield. The winner would win the North A section, setting up a quarter final at home against either QEGS Wakefield or RGS Newcastle, who meet this weekend in the North B final. It was King’s Macclesfield that secured their place in the next phase of the competition, defying our prediction for a 26-0 victory.
Tonbridge secured an absolutely vital win against Dulwich College. Dulwich were much changed from the side that played the Champions Trophy semi final on Thursday, but this was Tonbridge’s most significant win over the season, an excellent 27-22 victory, made even better as it was in front of a number of players that were a part of those outstanding unbeaten sides of the mid 2000s.
Perhaps the most impressive result of all though came in Croydon, where Whitgift once again demonstrated their superb quality with a 46-8 victory over Millfield, a truly outstanding result.
Around the Grounds
There were three highly impressive big wins on the northern circuit as Ampleforth College, Bradford Grammar, and Hymers College all reached the fifty point mark.
Hurstpierpoint College were also in strong try scoring form, beating Worth 53-0, while Seaford College secured a good 36-16 win away at Glyn.
Dartford College impressed as they inflicted just a second defeat of the season on Campion on Saturday, winning 17-15.
St John’s Leatherhead bounced back well from Thursday’s Champions Trophy semi final defeat to Dulwich College, beating KCS Wimbledon 17-12.
Already in our ‘Focus On’ section we saw some exciting draws, and there was another in Brimingham as KES Birmingham and Adams Grammar School drew 31-31, things also finished level at Loughborough Grammar as they held Sir Thomas Rich’s to a 15-15 draw. Kingswood meanwhile were once again in absolutely flying form as they beat King’s College Taunton 65-5.
Magdalen College were also part of the fifty club as they beat KES Southampton 52-0, while Northampton School for Boys nearly joined it, beating Old Swinford Hospital 48-22, Stamford and RGS High Wycombe were also big scorers this weekend, seeing off S Albans and St Benedict’s respectively. Caterham were also in hot form, beating Tiffin 57-12.
None was as high scoring as Solihull though, who put in a stunning display to beat Sandbach by an incredible 76-19 margin.
There was an important win for St Edward’s Oxford ahead of their big derby against Radley on Tuesday, beating The Oratory 31-12, local rivals Abingdon beat RGS Guildford 22-13.
St Paul’s carried on their good recent form for a deserved 20-12 win over Berkhamsted, while Kirkham Grammar School remain in their quietly excellent form, beating St Peter’s Gloucester 38-3.
On Friday there was a superb result for New Hall in the Schools Plate as they beat Colfe’s 60-16 in the London & South East A regional final, they will now travel for a quarter final next week against the London & South East B champions Trinity.
Elsewhere, Emanuel were in superb form on Friday night to beat Latymer Upper 27-0.
As always, if you have any videos, photos, or reports from the weekend’s rugby, please feel free to send them in via Twitter (@FifteenRugbyXV), Facebook (www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby), Instagram (@fifteenrugbyxv), or through email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Images via Simon Hipwell, Dave Hutchings, King’s Macclesfield, Massimo Scalabrini, Richard Papworth.
You can see photos from the weekend’s rugby here: Gallery – Saturday 25th November.
Schools Rugby Weekend Results – Saturday 25th November:
Brighton College 37-0 John Fisher (Daily Mail Trophy)
Bristol GS 24-44 Blundell’s (Daily Mail Trophy)
Bromsgrove 3-12 Clifton College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Hampton 24-24 Sherborne (Daily Mail Trophy)
Marlborough College 28-28 Bishop Wordsworth’s (Daily Mail Trophy)
Sedbergh 31-7 Woodhouse Grove (Daily Mail Trophy)
Stonyhurst College 0-26 King’s Macclesfield (Schools Cup)
Tonbridge 27-22 Dulwich College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Wellington College 13-21 Harrow (Daily Mail Trophy)
Whitgift 46-8 Millfield (Daily Mail Trophy)
Around the Grounds
Ampleforth College 53-5 Newcastle SfB (Daily Mail Trophy)
Birkdale 0-54 Hymers College
Bradford GS 55-13 Ashville College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Christ’s Hospital 26-19 Cranleigh, 2nd XV
Churcher’s College 43-0 Halliford
Colston’s 29-12 The Crypt
Cooper’s Coborn 26-14 The Leys
Cranbrook 10-31 Eltham College
Crossley Heath 10-20 Queen Ethelburga’s
Dartford GS 17-15 Campion
Fettes College 0-36 Merchiston Castle
Glyn 16-36 Seaford College
Hurstpierpoint College 53-0 Worth (Daily Mail Trophy)
Judd 24-7 Langley Park
KCS Wimbledon 12-17 St John’s, Leatherhead (Daily Mail Trophy)
KES Birmingham 31-31 Adams GS (Daily Mail Trophy)
King’s College, Taunton 5-65 Kingswood (Daily Mail Trophy)
King Henry VIII, Coventry 24-26 Wellingborough
King’s Worcester 3-22 Bishop Vesey’s GS
Lawrence Sheriff 7-58 Bablake
London Oratory 24-45 Trinity (Daily Mail Trophy)
Loughborough GS 15-15 Sir Thomas Rich’s (Daily Mail Trophy)
Magdalen College 52-0 KES Southampton
Manchester GS 31-0 Cheadle Hulme
Old Swinford Hospital 22-48 Northampton SfB (Daily Mail Trophy)
Oratory 12-31 St Edward’s, Oxford (Daily Mail Trophy)
Pate’s GS 26-21 RGS Worcester (Daily Mail Trophy)
Portsmouth GS 13-11 City of London Freemen’s
RGS Colchester 34-0 Ipswich
RGS Guildford 13-22 Abingdon (Daily Mail Trophy)
RGS High Wycombe 57-7 St Benedict’s (Daily Mail Trophy)
RGS Newcastle 31-17 RGS Lancaster (Daily Mail Trophy)
Skinners’ 37-26 King’s Canterbury (Daily Mail Trophy)
Solihull 76-19 Sandbach
Stamford 56-0 St Albans (Daily Mail Trophy)
St Columba’s College 19-55 Hitchin
St Dunstan’s College 5-29 Duke of York’s RMS
St George’s Weybridge 26-17 Reading Blue Coat (Daily Mail Trophy)
St Paul’s 20-12 Berkhamsted (Daily Mail Trophy)
St Peter’s, Gloucester 3-38 Kirkham Grammar School
Taunton School 7-19 Exeter School
Tiffin 12-57 Caterham (Daily Mail Trophy)
Wallington CGS 27-7 Reigate GS
West Buckland 27-33 Truro
Wilmslow HS 0-10 Calday Grange GS
Wimbledon College 10-37 Reed’s (Daily Mail Trophy)
Colfe’s 16-60 New Hall (Schools Plate)
Latymer Upper 0-27 Emanuel
Still to Come:
Bedford Modern v Nottingham HS (Daily Mail Trophy)
Dame Allan’s v Durham (Daily Mail Trophy)
Ellesmere College v Wrekin College
Glasgow Academy v Stewart’s Melville
Gunnersbury v UCS
Haberdashers’ v St George’s, Harpenden
QEH v Beechen Cliff, 2nd XV
Robert Gordon’s Academy v Dollar Academy
St Anselm’s College v St Ambrose College
Stockport GS v Grammar School at Leeds (Daily Mail Trophy)
Uppingham v The Perse
Watford GS v Aylesbury GS
Wisbech GS v Robert Clack