Another brilliant weekend of rugby passes by with some truly outstanding performances right across the country.
It was a fascinating weekend, with some surprise results and big names falling, while others preserved impressive unbeaten records, while a huge number of games went right down to the wire. Local derbies lived up to expectations, while there was even the odd bit of Cup action over the weekend too.
Thrown all together, it added up to a truly brilliant weekend of schools rugby.
As ever, our ten Focus On fixtures lived up to expectations and in many cases exceeded them. Rugby School’s unbeaten start to the season continues, and continues with arguably their best result of the season as they travelled to Cheltenham College, who went unbeaten last year, and came away with a 29-8 victory.
Cranleigh were also victorious, but they were made to work oh so hard for it as they met a Hurstpierpoint College side that is bursting with confidence this season. In atrocious conditions, the two sides dug in, with Cranleigh emerging the victors, 13-3.
Every year Marlborough College and Clifton College meet for the Governors Cup, known as schools rugby’s oldest match and dating back to 1864. All of that history and tradition often provides a great backdrop for the game, but this year it almost was not needed, such was the quality of both sides that the modern day rugby was always going to be where the interest lay in this one. A close game was expected, but the hosts, Marlborough, found a brilliant rhythm and ended up with a reasonably comfortable 30-7 victory, arguably their best of the season to date.
One of the big derbies of the day was the battle of the Oratory’s, The Oratory, from Reading, hosting London Oratory. The rain came hammering down but it was the host side that played the conditions better, securing a 39-0 victory and bragging rights for the year.
There was a massive fixture in Yorkshire as QEGS Wakefield hosted St Peter’s, York, in a fixture that both sides really needed a performance in. Neither has quite had the start that they would have wanted, particularly after such glowing seasons last year, and a scalp in this fixture would have been huge. As it was, St Peter’s were the side to secure that confidence boosting win, taking a 26-5 victory on the coach home with them, a fine result.
The relentless excellence of Sedbergh continues after they beat Durham 34-10 on Saturday. Again it was a good test, and Durham performed well, but even without stars such as Curtis and Tuipulotu Sedbergh as still putting in some massive performances and remain unbeaten after another win, 34-10.
Their big test will come next week though when they take on their great rival of the last few year’s, Kirkham Grammar School. Kirkham are also unbeaten and continued that with a fine win away at St Joseph’s College on Saturday. At 39-0 it was another example of just how strong they are, though St Jo’s will take confidence, this was their toughest game of the season to date and they performed well and will have learned a lot ahead of their Festival in a couple of weeks time.
There was a big derby in Rutland that also doubled as a Schools Cup second round game as Uppingham hosted Stamford. Both have started well, and but for a few injuries Stamford would probably have been favourites, however Uppingham took inspiration from a midweek session with former England scrum half Lee Dickson and put in a top performance in an excellent game to win 26-14, claiming bragging rights and a place in the 3rd round of the Cup.
Wellington College and Warwick met on Saturday with both looking for a statement win after tight defeats to top class opponents in Millfield and Whitgift last week. It was Wellington that would get the statement win, and what a statement it was, too, as they stormed to a quite brilliant 40-3 victory, proving their class and their resilience.
The final game in our Focus On section was the Wimbledon derby between Wimbledon College and KCS Wimbledon, a tight game last year that ended in a 13-13 draw, and not much less tight this year. There was a winner though, as the hosts, Wimbledon College, sealed an 11-5 victory to take the Wimbledon bragging rights.
Around the Grounds
A series for massive games took place in the South West this week, not least Blundell’s making their biggest statement of the year so far with a brilliant 56-3 win at Bryanston. Sherborne, meanwhile, were also in great form, beating Abingdon 24-8.
Downside were flying too, as they have been all season, they are yet to lose a game and extended that run with a stunning 71-7 defeat of Milton Abbey. Bishop Wordsworth’s, meanwhile, were no less exciting as they put Kingswood to the sword, winning 48-0.
The kings of the South West at the moment though are Millfield, they are one of the form sides in the country and kept their unbeaten season going with a really tough win in horrendous conditions at Bromsgrove, 36-20. The tries were flowing at Bloxham too, where Dean Close won in a seventy point thriller, beating their host 40-33.
There was a stunner at Lord Wandsworth College too. The hosts led 25-23 going into the last play, but Churcher’s College would not be denied in a thrilling finish as Ben Kay, no not that one, landed a drop goal at the death to give them a 26-25 victory.
Woodhouse Grove are proving to be one of the top sides in the country and their impressive unbeaten start saw them beat RGS Newcastle 27-12 away from home, another superb result for the men in green.
Moving further South there were a number of tight games in the South East and East Midlands, not least at Northampton School for Boys were they beat Bedford 8-7. St Albans pulled off surely the win of the season for them and one of the big surprises, beating Haileybury 13-10.
There were some other surprises too, not least a 16-7 win for Trinity against Brighton College, the Croydon side putting in one of their performances of the season against a Brighton side that was guilty of perhaps trying to play a bit too much in some awful weather as they begin turning attention to the St Joseph’s Festival. Eltham College, so quietly impressive all season, raised the volume on that impressive start as they pulled off an upset too, beating Felsted 10-0 for a huge victory.
St Paul’s very nearly stunned Harrow in the driving rain but the visitors just about held on for a tight 7-6 victory. There was a tight one in the U18 Schools Vase too as Bishop’s Stortford High School, one of our Top 5 last week, and RGS Colchester met. In a tight game with a nail-biting end, Bishop’s Stortford claimed the victory, 13-12, setting up a brilliant 3rd round tie against their local rivals Bishop’s Stortford College. With both sides unbeaten, it promises to be one of the ties of the round. You can read more about Bishop’s Stortford’s start here: Bishop’s Stortford High School off to a flying start.
Dulwich College’s fantastic season continues, they were 26-6 victors against Eton College and are now unbeaten since that tight opening weekend loss to Wellington, and are looking like one of the very best few sides. Among those they have beaten are Epsom College, who are looking very good themselves, as shown one again on Saturday when they beat Canford 29-5.
Berkhamsted are also looking like another top side this season and they were again in fantastic form on Saturday, beating RGS High Wycombe with a relatively comfortable 39-5 scoreline. Radley College meanwhile claimed a good victory themselves, beating Tonbridge 14-7 away from home.
Norwich are also looking formidable this season. It began with that stunning victory over Felsted and they have been unbeaten ever since. That continued on Saturday with a quite brilliant 63-10 victory over The Perse.
Probably the biggest game on Friday night was the fabled Border Shield between Malvern College and Monmouth. Often these big games can be somewhat of a let down after such anticipation, but this was nothing of the sort as a brilliant game of rugby unfolded. Malvern College claimed the silverware thanks to a 28-22 victory on what was a glorious night of rugby.
Meanwhile at Blackheath RFC Caterham were looking to maintain their unbeaten record in what has been a stunning season so far as they met Colfe’s. They did so in style, beating Colfe’s 40-5 to keep the run going. King’s Rochester, meanwhile, were 20-0 winners over St Dunstan’s College.
You can see photos from the weekend’s School Rugby here: Gallery – Saturday 6th October.
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 6th October:
Cheltenham College 8-29 Rugby
Cranleigh 13-3 Hurstpierpoint College
Marlborough College 30-7 Clifton College (Governors Cup)
The Oratory 39-0 London Oratory
QEGS Wakefield 5-26 St Peter’s, York
Sedbergh 34-10 Durham
St Joseph’s College 0-39 Kirkham Grammar School
Uppingham 26-14 Stamford (Schools Cup)
Wellington College 40-3 Warwick
Wimbledon College 11-5 KCS Wimbledon
Adams GS 0-47 Old Swinford Hospital
Austin Friars 40-14 Giggleswick
Berkhamsted 39-5 RGS High Wycombe
Birkdale 12-13 Bradford GS
Bishop’s Stortford HS 13-12 RGS Colchester (Schools Vase Rd 2)
Bishop Wordworth’s 48-0 Kingswood
Bloxham 33-40 Dean Close
Bristol GS 41-12 Kings College, Taunton
Bromsgrove 20-36 Millfield
Bryanston 3-56 Blundell’s
Cardinal Vaughan 0-38 Wisbech GS
Cheadle Hulme 18-7 Stockport GS
Chisleshurst & Sidcup 5-29 Campion
Christ College 33-10 Hereford Cathedral
Christ’s Hospital 21-7 Sevenoaks
City of London Freemen’s 5-10 Aylesbury GS
Cranbrook 13-15 Duke of York’s RMS
Dauntsey’s 43-5 KES Southampton
Dollar Academy 70-26 Dundee HS
Downside 71-7 Milton Abbey
Dulwich College 26-6 Eton College
Eastbourne College 11-32 Seaford College
Ellesmere College 51-0 King Henry VIII, Coventry
Eltham College 10-0 Felsted
Epsom College 29-5 Canford
Glasgow Academy 0-45 Stewart’s Melville
Gordon’s 28-14 Windsor Boys’
Hitchin 50-0 Bedford Modern
Hymers College 31-13 Ampleforth College
KES Stratford 15-20 Bishop Vesey’s GS
King’s Bruton 5-27 Exeter
King’s Ely 22-26 Wellingborough
King’s Gloucester 10-20 Wycliffe College
King’s Macclesfield 40-0 Queen Ethelburga’s
King’s Worcester 29-0 Loughborough GS
Langley 43-11 Ipswich
Lord Wandsworth College 25-26 Churcher’s College
Manchester GS 29-10 St Anselm’s College
Merchant Taylors’ 29-20 UCS
Newcastle SfB 17-17 Sedbergh 2nd XV
New Hall 0-26 Dartford GS
Northampton SfB 8-7 Bedford
Norwich 63-10 The Perse
Nottingham HS 29-10 Leicester GS
Pangbourne College 3-20 Portsmouth GS
Pate’s GS 17-31 QEH
Prior Park 10-18 Monkton Combe
QES Barnet 15-21 Coopers’ Coborn
Reed’s 15-8 King’s Canterbury
RGS Guildford 8-22 St John’s, Leatherhead
RGS Newcastle 12-27 Woodhouse Grove
Richard Hale 24-10 Brentwood
Sherborne 24-8 Abingdon
Skinners’ 18-12 Judd
Solihull 10-13 RGS Worcester
St Albans 13-10 Haileybury
St Edward’s, Oxford 6-8 Magdalen College
St George’s College, Weybridge 12-7 Shiplake College
St Paul’s 6-7 Harrow
Stowe 14-29 Oundle
Strathallan 14-34 Fettes College
Taunton 33-0 Colston’s
Tonbridge 7-14 Radley College
Trinity 16-7 Brighton College
Wallington CGS 21-17 Langley Park
Warminster 19-10 Bristol Cathedral
Wells Cathedral 34-17 Sidcot
Woodbridge 5-7 Culford
Worksop College 37-19 Trent College
Worth 19-29 Sutton Valence
Yarm 14-29 Dame Allan’s
Caterham 40-5 Colfe’s
King’s Rochester 20-0 St Dunstan’s College
Malvern College 28-22 Monmouth
Still to Come
Ashville College v Harrogate GS
Barnard Castle v Pocklington
George Heriot’s v Kelvinside Academy
Isleworth & Syon v Enfield GS
Mill Hill v Bishop’s Stortford College
Robert Gordon’s College v Merchiston Castle
Sir Joseph Williamson’s v St Olave’s GS
Tiffin v Gunnersbury
Truro v West Buckland
Wirral GS v Wilmslow HS