Another sizzling weekend of schools rugby has flown by, with Saturday afternoon seeing a solid stream of ever more impressive performances streaming through to us.
A few early season indications appeared confirmed as some of the top performing sides of those early weeks turned in some magnificent performances. Elsewhere there were a few upsets and a huge host of other sides on outstanding form.
Sherborne have impressed us hugely in the early period of this season, making our Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend on two occasions already. On Saturday they continued that stunning form to maintain their unbeaten start with a 29-3 victory away at Abingdon, who have impressed often enough themselves this season too.
One of the top performances this weekend came from Berkhamsted in a close game against Dulwich College. Dulwich have been in a great run of form of late but with a strong home support behind them, Berkhamsted were a picture of intensity, securing a 29-20 victory as both sides head into a busy midweek with Champions Trophy action to come.
Harrow v St Paul’s was a fixture that had a strong degree of anticipation. Both had lost to the very best they had faced but had also shown plenty of promise so far this season. Both showed that sort of form at times but it was the home side that were the more dominant as they secured a 31-18 victory. St Paul’s perhaps with half an eye on a huge Champions Trophy tie in midweek.
Millfield ended their tricky spell of the last week or so on a real high with a 29-10 home win over a good Bromsgrove side, with Wales U18 full back Dan John is delightful form at the back, his counter attacking evoking memories of the likes of Darren Atkins and Tom Whiteley from Millfield’s recent past.
One of the sides that have proved near enough unstoppable so far this season are Kirkham Grammar School, and on Saturday they were in just that type of form against as they stormed away to a 31-0 victory at Mount St Mary’s College, a side that many will struggle against this season.
Perhaps even more impressive than Kirkham though have been Rugby School, the school that gave the game its name has been outstanding so far this season. On Saturday they faced a strong Cheltenham College side, who actually gave them probably their toughest game of the season. That it still ended 31-8 in Rugby’s favour tells you everything you need to know about this Rugby School side, they are utterly formidable.
The derby between Stamford and Uppingham was massively highly anticipated. Uppingham are enjoying their best start to a season in years and Stamford have been in excellent form too. In the triangle of games between themselves and Oakham, Stamford had lost to Oakham by two points three weeks ago, while Uppingham beat them by two last week. So a close game was expected, but few could possibly have expected it to be quite as close as it was. Uppingham, having shown bags of skill and pace, were nine points clear with six minutes to go, however a well-worked try out wide saw Stamford bring themselves right into contention. Winning the ball back again they battered away at the Uppingham line through their pack to score a dramatic late winner, securing a 22-19 victory and the inaugural Robert Mills Memorial Cup.
Oakham themselves were involved in a tight one again on Saturday, but came out on the losing side again as Warwick bounced back from last week’s defeat to Whitgift for a gritty 22-18 victory. An ideal victory for them ahead of Schools Cup week, while Oakham will look to bounce back fast before hosting the exceptional Clifton College in the Champions Trophy.
Tonbridge bounced right back from their Champions Trophy loss in midweek with a brilliant away win at St Joseph’s College. The men in black and white secured a 39-19 victory against their hosts, having built on a narrow half time lead. An excellent performance.
Probably the most atmospheric of games this weekend was the Wimbledon derby between KCS Wimbledon and Wimbledon College. These two schools are so closely located that it has been the subject of much social media conversation about the closeness of various rivalries around the country. In the end the game was just about as close as the location of the two schools as KCS came out on top 7-3. Keep an eye out for these two in the Cup too, there is a chance that they could meet there in a few rounds.
Around the Grounds
There was so much other fantastic rugby on Saturday, not least Epsom College once again demonstrating their class with a 40-18 victory at Reed’s, strong preparation for a key Champions Trophy game in midweek.
Perhaps the game of the days was Kingswood v Malvern College, Malvern College were the winners but this one was all about the sheer madness of the game as Malvern edged it by a solitary point in the most fantastic end to end game, finishing 42-41.
Elsewhere Barnard Castle’s stunning start to the season continued with another entertaining victory, they travelled to Pocklington and came away with a 48-25 victory. An entertaining game, and no easy place from which to come away with the victory.
Staying in the north section and another team that has been in sensational form, Bradford Grammar School were again in flying form as they secured a 26-7 victory over Birkdale. Ampleforth College were impressive too as they claimed the spoils at home to Hymers College in style, 45-12.
One of the most hotly anticipated games in the area was Woodhouse Grove v RGS Newcastle. RGS were favourites but were thrown down an almighty challenge by a determined Woodhouse Grove side. The away side got the job done though, 18-16, resisting a strong close from a 14 man Woodhouse Grove side at the end.
Meanwhile Wirral Grammar were in strong form for a 21-5 victory at Wilmslow High School, while Cheadle Hulme were stunning at Stockport Grammar, winning 62-7. Over in Scotland Edinburgh Academy won a thriller at Strathallan, 32-28, with Fettes College winning their Cup tie at Robert Gordon’s 50-5. In one of the most hotly anticipated games of the weekend, Merchiston Castle won a really entertaining game against Dollar Academy, 37-25.
Along with the likes of Rugby and Sedbergh, to name just a couple, Clifton College have been absolutely outstanding so far this season. On Saturday they appear to have gone up another notch again as they defeated Marlborough College by a stunning 63-0 margin. Sure, they were favourites, but not by anything like that margin.
Brighton College were also in pretty formidable form as they hosted Trinity and showed their undoubted quality for a 50-7 victory. Canford were another side showing some uncompromising form on Saturday as they hosted Bishop Wordworth’s and stormed away for a 49-10 victory.
Two sides that have turned in some really impressive performances over the past couple of weeks were Aylesbury Grammar and City of London Freemen’s. It should be no surprise then that they drove each other right to the finish on Saturday, with Aylesbury taking the 13-10 victory late on in the game.
Elsewhere Wisbech Grammar were in good form at Cardinal Vaughan for a 43-5 victory, while Bristol Grammar enjoyed themselves at home against King’s College Taunton for a 29-0 victory. Blundell’s warmed up for next week’s trip to St Paul’s in the Champions Trophy in some style, securing a 26-7 victory over Truro while manahing to rest a few ahead of that key tie.
King’s Ely have been a surprise package this year and they kept up their unbeaten start in an entertaining game at Wellingborough, winning 33-22. Sutton Valence meanwhile were in really formidable form at home to Worth, securing a 57-0 victory, while Old Swinford Hospital were in similar form for a 62-7 victory over Adams Grammar.
At Dean Close there was a really tight game against Bloxham. The home side opening the scoring 20 minutes in but penalties either side of the break reduced that to a 7-6 lead early in the second half. From there the game exploded into life, both sides scoring twice but Dean Close maintaining that narrow lead for a 21-18 victory.
Elsewhere Magdalen College earned a big win as they defeated St Edward’s Oxford 25-12, while The Leys won for the second time in a matter of day, defeating Framlingham College 47-15. Norwich meanwhile beat The Perse 28-12, while Stowe earned a first victory of the season in a tight game at Oundle, 18-14.
Seaford College were one of the sides in flying form on Saturday, defeat Gordon’s 52-0, while Sevenoaks were back to winning ways with a 31-20 defeat of New Hall. St George’s College Weybridge were really excellent on Saturday, defeating a good Shiplake college side 45-8 away from home.
Two sides competing in the Champions Trophy in midweek at St John’s Leatherhead and RGS Guildford. They played out a fantastically tight game at St John’s on Saturday, with the home side just edging it by a single conversion, 14-12.
Eton College secured a first win of the season, denying Bedford that chance with a 35-7 victory. Felsted meanwhile won a competitive one against Eltham College, 28-8. Haileybury are continuing to impress all onlookers at the moment, on Saturday they backed up their midweek County Cup success with a 45-10 defeat of St Albans. It was a determined Haileybury side, having lost this game last year, with Louis Aylwin imperious at fly half giving his side territorial control of the match. Cavlli-Warby and Osebor scored from close range to give the home side a 12-3 lead, before West and Wild scored either side of St Albans for a 24-10 half time lead. Cavalli-Warby added another, followed by Osebor, before a late St Albans rally saw them score two quick tries, leaving Haileybury with the 40-20 victory.
There was also a Schools Cup tie on Saturday as Lancaster RGS defeated Stonyhurst College 32-0 to send them into the third round in North A, where they will face either QEGS Wakefield or Cheadle Hulme.
There was bags of action on Friday, not least a 33-0 victory for Caterham over Colfe’s. Skinners’ meanwhile secured an impressive 18-3 victory against Judd, while Wycliffe College an King’s Rochester also claimed victories, with Dundee High School winning a thriller in Scotland 29-22 against Glenalmond College.
King’s Macclesfield were also in good form, beating Sandbach 30-12, while Langley Park won a high scoring game against Walllington, 38-24. There was also Schools Bowl action on Friday, Oswestry winning a tight one against Rydal Penrhos, 14-12.
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Schools Rugby Weekend Results:
Abingdon 3-29 Sherborne
Berkhamsted 29-20 Dulwich College
Harrow 31-18 St Paul’s
KCS Wimbledon 7-3 Wimbledon College
Millfield 29-10 Bromsgrove
Mount St Mary’s College 0-31 Kirkham GS
Rugby 31-8 Cheltenham College
Stamford 22-19 Uppingham
St Joseph’s College 19-39 Tonbridge
Warwick 22-18 Oakham
Ampleforth College 45-12 Hymers College
Aylesbury GS 13-10 City of London Freemen’s
Bablake 17-44 Leicester GS
Bishop’s Stortford College 29-19 Mill Hill
Bishop Vesey’s GS 22-17 KES Stratford
Blundell’s 26-7 Truro
Bradford GS 28-3 Birkdale
Brighton College 50-8 Trinity
Bristol GS 29-0 King’s College, Taunton
Canford 49-10 Bishop Wordsworth’s
Cardinal Vaughan 5-43 Wisbech GS
Clayesmore 10-38 Wells Cathedral
Clifton College 63-0 Marlborough College
Colston’s 26-38 Taunton
Coopers’ Coborn 31-19 QES, Barnet
Dame Allan’s 36-12 Yarm
Dean Close 21-18 Bloxham
Downside 0-53 Exeter
Duke of York’s RMS 22-20 Cranbrook
Eastbourne College 44-10 King’s Canterbury
Emanuel 20-8 Reigate GS
Eton College 35-7 Bedford
Felsted 28-8 Eltham College
Giggleswick 2nd XV 21-43 Rossall
Grammar School at Leeds 41-17 St Ambrose College
Gunnersbury 29-37 Tiffin
Haileybury 40-20 St Albans
Hereford Cathedral School 12-12 Christ College
Hutchesons’ GS 33-12 Marr College
Ipswich 14-34 Langley
King Henry VIII, Coventry 17-27 Ellesmere College
Kingswood 41-42 Malvern College
Lancaster RGS 32-0 Stonyhurst College (Schools Cup)
The Leys 47-15 Framlingham College
Lord Wandsworth College 22-32 Churcher’s College
Loretto 20-28 Austin Friars
Loughborough GS 14-26 King’s Worcester
Magdalen College 25-12 St Edward’s, Oxford
Merchant Taylors’ 57-5 Birkenhead
Merchiston Castle 37-25 Dollar Academy
Milton Abbey 8-28 West Buckland
Newcastle-Under-Lyme 29-14 St Joseph’s College
Newcastle School for Boys 29-10 Sedbergh 2nd XV
Nottingham HS 3-36 Northampton School for Boys
Old Swinford Hospital 62-7 Adams GS
Oundle 14-18 Stowe
The Perse 12-28 Norwich
Pocklington 25-48 Barnard Castle
QEH 22-14 Pate’s GS
Reed’s 18-40 Epsom College
RGS Colchester 37-20 Bishop’s Stortford HS
RGS Worcester 14-10 Solihull
Robert Gordon’s College 5-50 Fettes College (Scottish Schools Cup)
Ryde 0-41 Christ’s Hospital
Seaford College 52-0 Gordon’s
Sevenoaks 31-20 New Hall
Shiplake College 8-45 St George’s College, Weybridge
Sir Thomas Rich’s 40-23 Monmouth
St Aloysius’ College 0-31 Glasgow Academy
St Anselm’s College 10-35 Manchester GS
St John’s Leatherhead 14-12 RGS Guildford
St Olave’s GS 20-14 Sir Joseph Williamson’s
Stewart’s Melville 38-12 George Heriot’s
Stockport GS 7-62 Cheadle Hulme
Strathallan 28-32 Edinburgh Academy
Sutton Valence 57-0 Worth
Trent College 15-31 Worksop College
UCS 17-34 Merchant Taylors’
Warminster 0-46 Bristol Cathedral School
Wellingborough 22-33 King’s Ely
Wilmslow HS 5-21 Wirral GS
Woodbridge 5-36 Culford
Woodhouse Grove 16-18 RGS Newcastle
Caterham 33-0 Colfe’s
Dundee HS 29-22 Glenalmond College
Judd 3-18 Skinners’
King’s Gloucester 12-29 Wycliffe College
King’s Rochester 29-8 St Dunstan’s College
Langley Park 38-24 Wallington CGS
Oswestry 14-12 Rydal Penrhos (Schools Bowl)
Sandbach 12-30 King’s Macclesfield
Still to Come
AKS Lytham v St Edward’s College
Brentwood v Richard Hale
Campion v Chislehurst & Sidcup GS
Glasgow HS v Kelvinside Academy
KES Southampton v Dauntsey’s
Monkton Combe v King’s Bruton
St Peter’s York v QEGS Wakefield