It was the penultimate weekend of the term, and that was reflected in the intensity of the weekend’s schools rugby as each side aiming to ensure that they finish up for the term with great recent memories.
Sadly a number of players and teams were unable to this week though, as the low temperatures saw frozen pitches force cancellations across the country. Nevertheless, the majority of fixtures did go ahead and there were some absolute thrillers, not least in our Focus On fixtures, in which nine of the ten games were able to go ahead.
Cranleigh jumped to the top of the Daily Mail Trophy table on Saturday thanks to a fantastic 41-7 victory at Marlborough College. Though top now, they still have a tough job on their hands, all the major contenders, including themselves, have one game left. Cranleigh will face Canford and will still need Sedbergh to drop points against Millfield on Wednesday in order to stay in the hunt in one of the most exciting Daily Mail Trophy races there has been.
Also in the hunt are Epsom College, though they will need Cranleigh, Sedbergh, and Wellington College to drop points this week. On Saturday they did all they could though, putting in yet another fantastic performance for a 22-5 home win over Hurstpierpoint College.
Clifton College lie 5th in the table and are the last of the sides still mathematically able to win the title, though they will need a lot to go their way, victory for any of the sides above them would end their hopes. On Saturday though the last thing on their mind was the table, they were engaged in an epic contest at Bromsgrove. The game went right down to the wire, and for the third time this season it was a kick at the death that cost the hosts Clifton finishing up 11-9 victors in an awesome game of rugby.
Millfield’s stunning run of recent form continued on Saturday is they put in another swashbuckling performance for a 52-17 victory over Monmouth. They now host Sedbergh on Wednesday in red hot form, and with Sedbergh playing for the Daily Mail Trophy title it could be an absolutely epic encounter.
On Saturday there was another epic as Hampton hosted Brighton College. These two exciting sides played right to type, keeping the ball alive whenever possible, indeed even kicks were almost entirely of an attacking in field variety. It made for a cracking game in the cold, Brighton College taking the spoils by a narrow 17-14 margin.
Along the road a little, St John’s Leatherhead enjoyed one of their best results of the season as they beat a very strong Seaford College side 29-17, a fantastic way to sign off their home season ahead of next weekend’s final game of the term away to local rivals Epsom College.
Sherborne have been in fantastic form all year and it has taken them to a Schools Cup quarter final against KCS Wimbledon on Wednesday. Despite that schedule though they were still able to step up and perform outstandingly well on Wednesday as they hosted a Cheltenham College side that has played some superb rugby with excellent results this year. A cracking game unfolded, with Sherborne running out 34-21 victors to send them into that quarter final bursting with confidence.
There was a massive confidence boosting victory for Dulwich College on Saturday as they ended a tough streak since half term with a 22-10 victory over a St Paul’s side that has caused real problems for a number of top sides this year. Dulwich now take on Hampton in their final game on Saturday, which should be a cracking game of rugby.
Tonbridge’s outstanding recent form continued on Saturday with a stunning 46-0 effort at home to Radley College. The Kent side are looking in red hot form ahead of a massive final game of the season next week against Wellington College.
Around the Grounds
Elsewhere this weekend there were some truly outstanding performances, not least a stunning 84-12 victory for Portsmouth Grammar over old rivals KES Southampton, a brilliant performance.
The Leys were in similarly dominant form as they beat St Edmund’s College 67-21. Meanwhile Exeter School look in incredible form ahead of the Schools Vase quarter final, they enjoyed an awesome 66-0 victory over Colston’s. Similarly Campion won by an epic 50-0 margin at Bedford Modern, with Reigate Grammar enjoying the same result against Colfe’s.
Canford have been outstanding this year and have a huge game to finish things off against Cranleigh next week. On Saturday they played a triangular with Downside and Dauntsey’s, winning against both, 30-0 v Downside and 14-12 against Dauntsey’s, to secure the spoils.
The Cup, Plate, Vase, and Bowl quarter finals take place this week, and on Wednesday Eastbourne College will host Sutton Valence. They enjoyed excellent preparation for that with an excellent 42-20 victory over Caterham on Saturday.
Abingdon meanwhile have a Schools Cup quarter final against the reigning champions, Whitgift, on Wednesday. They too will be full of confidence ahead of it after they enjoyed a 20-12 victory at RGS Guildford on Saturday. KCS Wimbledon also have a Cup quarter final on Wednesday, they travel to Sherborne. On Saturday though they met at Aylesbury Grammar side in cracking form, who secured a superb 40-12 victory.
Haileybury secured a good victory over a spirited Eton College team on Saturday with two excellent late tries. Haileybury looked strong early on but Eton were tenacious and clinical, taking a 7-0 lead against the run of play. Haileybury hit back with a scincillating individual try from Phoenix Healy. Before a well-worked try from Tariq Wild. Eton kept putting the pressure back on though, scoring two well worked tries for a 19-12 half time lead. The game took a dramatic turn in the second half as Eton had a man sin-binned before Haileybury had a man sent off following an altercation. The 14 man visitors needed to show every inch of character to bounce back. Led superbly by captain Callum McGurk they clawed their way to victory. Manuel Arroyo scored a superb solo try from the half way line after good offloading play by his team-mates. Arroyo beat several players to score under the posts. Haileybury were on a roll and the superb Cameron Giwa-Mcneil, after several lung busting breaks during the match, powered over to secure a very hard fought victory.
Elsewhere Wimbledon College were in cracking form as they secured a 45-10 victory over Wallington County Grammar to sign off their home games for the season. Meanwhile Reading Blue Coat were in the form that has made them so impressive this year, winning 53-5 at Tiffin.
Harrow were in a tight game against a confident Bedford side on Saturday, winning 10-3. Things were also fantastically tight in Cambridge as a last play drop goal earned The Perse an 18-16 victory over Samuel Whitbrad.
Oakham had a superb outing at Solihull as they sealed a 55-18 victory. Their local rivals Uppingham were also in cracking for, securing a 24-3 victory away to Stowe.
Bristol Grammar were, once again, in seriously strong form with a 55-20 victory over Pate’s Grammar School as their top season builds to a real crescendo. John Fisher were also in good nick, beating St Benedict’s 29-5. Meanwhile St Edward’s Oxford enjoyed one of their best results of the entire season as they secured a 33-17 victory away at Malvern College.
One side that again put in another excellent performance in what has been a quietly spectacular season was Merchant Taylors’ who beat Reed’s for the first time 41-15. The victory continues their unbeaten record, and they could complete a stunning unbeaten season next time out when they face St Albans.
Kirkham Grammar School remain undefeated as this outstanding group made the trip to Northern Ireland and came away with a really well earned 26-15 victory at Ballymena Academy.
Meanwhile back in England Mill Hill had a seriously impressive 24-3 victory over St Albans, a side that have impressed this year, while Mount Kelly enjoyed a 13-7 victory at home to Truro School, they sent in this report:
The Mount Kelly 1st XV continued their fine run of form on Friday by beating Truro School under lights at Launceston Rugby Club. In a physical encounter Mount Kelly eventually pulled away to win 13-7 in an excellent game of schoolboy rugby.
With conditions perfect on a chilly November evening the game kicked off at lively tempo with both teams looking to take advantage of the wide pitch. Despite Kelly having several scoring opportunities they were unable to score past a resolute Truro defence. After moving the ball well down the right-hand side Truro eventually scored after several short drives around the fringes to take the lead. Kelly replied soon after with some outstanding interplay between backs and forwards which allowed full-back Dom Bourne to score from close range.
The second half saw Kelly implement a territorial a game brilliantly orchestrated by fly half Harvey Causer. This allowed Kelly to play in the right areas of the pitch which meant Truro were rarely to threaten the Kelly line and kept their back three under pressure with a well organised kick chase.
Despite some sustained pressure Kelly struggled to sting phases together with greasy ball and frustration threatened to creep in as the clock ticked over. With the lineout functioning well the Kelly forwards started to use the maul to great effect and some further pressure meant Truro infringed at the breakdown which allowed Harvey Causer to land a successful long-range penalty to take a 1 point lead with 15 minutes to go.
Truro continued to use their big ball carries to good effect but the Kelly defence stood firm and with the game entering the final stages Truro started to chance their arm by looking to move the ball wide. Winger Charles Warren read the subsequent attack well to intercept and score in the corner from 20 metres out. With only the kick off to play Kelly were able to collect the restart and after several phases kick the ball out to seal a memorable and much deserved victory.
It was a great evening of rugby between two good sides. Endeavor, spirit and skill were on show from both teams and all players should be commended for their performance.
FT: Mount Kelly 13 – 7 Truro School, MOTM Ryan Smale
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Schools Rugby Weekend Results – Saturday 30th November:
Bromsgrove 9-11 Clifton College
Dulwich College 22-10 St Paul’s
Durham v Barnard Castle – Cancelled
Epsom College 22-5 Hurstpierpoint College
Hampton 14-17 Brighton College
Marlborough College 7-41 Cranleigh
Millfield 52-17 Monmouth
Sherborne 34-21 Cheltenham College
St John’s Leatherhead 29-17 Seaford College
Tonbridge 46-0 Radley College
Bedford 3-10 Harrow
Bedford Modern 0-50 Campion
Bishop’s Stortford College 42-10 New Hall
Bishop Vesey’s GS 31-7 RGS Worcester
Bristol GS 55-20 Pate’s GS
Canford/Dauntsey’s/Downside – Triangular – Canford win
Clayesmore 0-9 King’s Bruton
Eastbourne College 42-20 Caterham
Ellesmere College 15-0 St Anselm’s College
Eltham College 0-24 Skinners’
Eton College 19-26 Haileybury
Exeter 66-0 Colston’s
Framlingham College 17-20 Norwich
Gresham’s 0-18 Royal Hospital School
Ipswich 10-38 St Joseph’s College
John Fisher 29-5 St Benedict’s
KCS Wimbledon 12-40 Aylesbury GS
KES Southampton 12-84 Portsmouth GS
King’s Ely 45-7 Wisbech GS
King’s Rochester 7-27 St Lawrence College
Kingswood 7-33 QEH
The Leys 67-21 St Edmund’s College
Lord Wandsworth College 18-24 St George’s College, Weybridge
Magdalen College 29-3 Pangbourne College
Malvern College 17-33 St Edward’s Oxford
Milton Abbey 0-24 Monkton Combe
Nottingham HS 12-53 King’s Macclesfield
Oundle 34-5 Rugby 2nd XV
The Perse 18-16 Samuel Whitbread
Pocklington 19-28 Ampleforth College
QES Barnet 7-0 Latymer Upper
Ravens Wood 22-23 Langley Park
Reed’s 15-41 Merchant Taylors’
Reigate GS 50-0 Colfe’s
Rendomb College 10-39 Clifton HS
RGS Guildford 12-20 Abingdon
Sevenoaks 13-3 Christ’s Hospital
Sir Joseph Williamson’s 5-7 Gravesend GS
Sir Thomas Rich’s 21-5 The Crypt
Solihull 18-55 Oakham
Stamford 31-7 Loughborough GS
St Dunstan’s College 41-5 Cedars
Stowe 3-24 Uppingham
Taunton 12-30 Blundell’s
Tiffin 5-53 Reading Blue Coat
Trinity 12-6 Judd
Wells Cathedral 3-0 Queen’s College, Taunton
West Buckland 3-5 Shebbear College
Wimbledon College 45-10 Wallington CGS
Worth 0-29 City of London Freemen’s
Ballymena Academy 15-26 Kirkham GS
Mill Hill 24-3 St Albans
Mount Kelly 13-7 Truro
Still to Come:
Abraham Darby v Wrekin College
Chislehurst & Sidcup GS v Coopers’ Coborn
Churcher’s College v Gunnersbury
Hitchin v Richard Hale
KES Bath v Wellington
King’s Canterbury v Felsted
Maidstone GS v Dartford GS
Stonyhurst College v Giggleswick
Trent College v Welbeck
Colchester RFC v RGS Colchester
Lymm HS v Calday Grange GS
Winscombe RFC v Sidcot