After a brilliant term of schools rugby we should have known to expect a cracker to finish things off with.
Although there are still a few fixtures in midweek and a handful coming up at the weekend, Saturday really marked the official end of the main school season and we were treated to a delight that was every bit in keeping with the season that we have had so far.
More important than that though were the dozens of tweets and emails that we had over the weekend telling us of the pride that individuals, parents, and schools had had in those wearing their school shirts this season, enjoying every minute of their final experiences of school rugby.
Blundell’s have been quietly excellent all season and they finished off on a real high on Saturday with a superb 39-3 victory over Cheltenham College, who have found the going tougher this year but have performed with real spirit all season.
There was a fantastically close game on the south coast on Saturday, a trend that we have seen right through the season. Brighton College and Seaford College met, two sides that have been in brilliant form of late, and gave it everything. It was as close as you like, with Brighton College just edging it by a point, 8-7.
Things were almost as close in the Midlands where Bromsgrove finally secured victory over Warwick, 17-15. It was the third meeting of the two sides this season, and though Warwick had to rest a few after their midweek Cup exploits, this meant a huge deal to all. Warwick were 2-0 up in the series, but like the British and Irish Lions in 2009, Bromsgrove finished up on a high, earning the victory to leave the final tally at the end of the season on 2-1.
Epsom College showed all of the courage and endeavor that we should have expected after the superb but unsuccessful challenge in the Champions Trophy final on Wednesday. Responding in the perfect manner to that defeat they beat local rivals St John’s Leatherhead 16-3 to end their season on the high that they deserved.
One of the most highly anticipated games of the weekend was Hampton v Dulwich College. The two had met earlier in the season in the Champions Trophy were a try in the last play from Hampton knocked Dulwich, who were defending champions, out. Dulwich got their revenge on Saturday though, they have been in brilliant form all season but particularly of late, and they showed that on Saturday for a 15-7 win
Unbeaten seasons are pretty rare, back to back unbeaten seasons are almost unheard of. On Saturday though that was exactly what Sedbergh were setting out for when they travelled to Llandovery College. They may already have wrapped up the Daily Mail Trophy weeks ago but there was pressure on this one, the unbeaten season was a big goal. A close game emerged and there must have been a few nerves at play, but eventually then men in brown sealed the game with a 12-7 victory and with it their stunning back to back unbeaten seasons.
It has already been a brilliant season for RGS Newcastle after their St Joseph’s Festival title, but with rumours of the legendary coach Jim Pollock thinking of retirement, they were itching to finish on a high against rivals Barnard Castle. They were made to work for it in a cracking game, but they sealed the victory with an excellent 19-12 win, reflective of a superb season.
A key game in terms of the final Daily Mail Trophy placings was Rugby v Clifton College. Both have been absolutely brilliant this season, hence their top 10 finishes in the table, Rugby had to rest a few after the massive Cup clash against Warwick in midweek, and perhaps that had an influence as Clifton won 26-0. Nevertheless, nothing should detract from what was an excellent performance from Clifton, reflective of their outstanding play throughout the season.
Another side that has been fantastic all season are Marlborough College, and while they have had a tough run of games of late, including Saturday’s game against Sherborne, they put in a performance to end the season on the high that it has deserved, winning 32-10 away from home.
Whitgift have been one of the very best teams in the country all year, when only the likes of Wellington College and Sedbergh are beating you, you are doing very very well. So it proved on Saturday as they hosted Cranleigh, another excellent side, and put on a fantastic performance to win 26-0, finishing up the term in style. There could yet be more on the horizon too, with a Cup quarter final coming up on the 9th January.
Around the Grounds
The weekend really did feel like a celebration in many ways, with Bedford among those earning the chance to celebrate after they beat Abingdon 26-7, ending a tough season on a real positive note.
Bishop Wordsworth’s, on the other hand, have had an excellent season and they finished it off spectacularly, beating Canford by a stunning 51-0 margin. Bloxham have been just as good, and they were similarly rewarded in their final game as they beat KES Birmingham 50-5.
Statistically though, neither has been quite as spectacular as Dean Close this year as they completed an unbeaten season it the most dominant style imaginable, beating Kingswood by an astonishing 83-0 margin. The performance of another side in the South West this season should also not be overlooked, Downside have been brilliant all year and gave departing Head Coach Mike Baxter the perfect send off on Saturday with a 33-8 victory at home to King’s Bruton.
Denstone College have quietly had another excellent season, really challenging themselves against some of the top sides in the country. On Saturday they got their reward for that with a superb 48-7 defeat of QEGS Wakefield, setting them up for their final game against Kirkham Grammar School perfectly.
Hurstpierpoint College are another side that has been outstanding all year and they showed that once more on Saturday as they ended their season in truly spectacular fashion, beating Eastbourne College 41-5. Elsewhere there was a strong finish for Stamford, who have been flying lately, beating Gresham’s 19-12 away from home, while Magdalen College rounded off a fantastic season with another good win, beating Reading Blue Coat 14-3.
Berkhamsted have been another of the sides to really step up this season, putting in some superb performances. They ended on the positive note that their efforts have deserved, winning away at Hertfordshire rivals Haileybury 22-5.
In London there was a cracking game at KCS Wimbledon as Trinity just edged it 29-24, while in the South West Bristol Grammar School finished off in style, winning 46-7 at Malvern College.
We should not overlook some of the outstanding play coming out of Kent from Caterham this year either, and they finished off in exactly the manner that their season has deserved, with a 53-0 win at Sevenoaks. Radley College have also been excellent, particularly of late. They had to win in a somewhat different manner at Oundle this weekend, taking a big of a slugfest by a 6-0 margin. Things were a little more free flowing elsewhere in Northamptonshire though as Sir Thomas Rich’s won 25-17 at Northampton School for Boys to end on a real positive note for the season.
Oakham finished off very nicely too with a 19-0 victory at the majestic setting of Stowe School, while St George’s College Weybridge were in flying form, securing a 48-7 victory at home to Emanuel. Meanwhile in Yorkshire St Peter’s were on fine form to finish up the season with a 31-10 victory over Pocklington.
Fresh from Wednesday’s Champions Trophy triumph, Wellington College finished the perfect week in perfect fashion as they defeated Eton College 38-7 in front of their proud home fans on their Bigside pitch, a fantastic end to the season for this excellent outfit.
Friday saw Pangbourne College claim their County Cup title with a 17-10 victory over The Downs, while elsewhere St Columba’s College claimed an excellent 18-10 victory over Latymer Upper. A great game on which to end the season.
Follow this link for a selection of photos from the weekend’s rugby: Gallery – Saturday 8th December.
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 8th December:
Blundell’s 39-3 Cheltenham College
Brighton College 8-7 Seaford College
Bromsgrove 17-15 Warwick
Epsom College 16-3 St John’s, Leatherhead
Hampton 7-15 Dulwich College
Llandovery College 7-12 Sedbergh
RGS Newcastle 19-12 Barnard Castle
Rugby 0-26 Clifton College
Sherborne 10-32 Marlborough College
Whitgift 26-0 Cranleigh
Around the Grounds
Bedford 26-7 Abingdon
Bedford Modern 12-35 St George’s, Harpenden
Bishop Wordsworth’s 51-0 Canford
Bloxham 50-5 KES Birmingham
Caterham 20-5 Worth
Churcher’s College 13-5 Shiplake College
Colfe’s 7-32 City of London Freemen’s
Culford 11-26 St Joseph’s College
Dame Allan’s 20-35 Ashville College
Dean Close 83-0 Kingswood
Denstone College 48-7 QEGS Wakefield
Downside 33-8 King’s Bruton
Dundee High School 12-54 Strathallan
Durham 38-14 Giggleswick
Fettes College 27-36 Dollar Academy
Framlingham College 19-5 Royal Hospital School
Glasgow Academy 60-0 St Columba’s School
Grammar School at Leeds 12-17 King’s Macclesfield
Gravesend GS 5-36 Chislehurst & Sidcup GS
Gresham’s 12-19 Stamford
Haileybury 5-22 Berkhamsted
Hurstpierpoint College 41-5 Eastbourne College
Judd 34-12 Maidstone GS
KCS Wimbledon 24-29 Trinity
KES Bath 41-17 Prior Park College
King’s College, Taunton 14-7 Taunton
King’s Ely 31-10 Woodbridge
Leicester GS 17-17 Bishop Vesey’s GS
Lord Wandsworth College 3-33 Dauntsey’s
Loughborough GS 28-10 Adams GS
Magdalen College 14-3 Reading Blue Coat
Malvern College 7-46 Bristol GS
Manchester GS 33-29 Lymm HS
Merchiston Castle 52-10 Glenalmond College
Monmouth 10-8 Solihull
Northampton School for Boys 17-25 Sir Thomas Rich’s
Old Swinford Hospital 47-17 Nottingham HS
Oundle 0-6 Radley College
Pate’s GS 12-19 Colston’s
Queen’s College, Taunton 22-7 Wells Cathedral
Ravens Wood 39-32 Wallington CGS
Reed’s 19-15 Campion
RGS Colchester 33-27 New Hall
RGS Guildford 33-15 Skinners’
Royal Alexandra & Albert 29-17 Gordon’s
Rydal Penrhos 15-15 Silcoates
Rydal Penrhos 29-5 AKS Arnold
Sevenoaks 0-53 Caterham
Shrewsbury 24-10 RGS Worcester
Stowe 0-19 Oakham
Sutton Valence 28-3 King’s Canterbury
St Albans 19-33 Merchant Taylors’
St Benedict’s 31-17 Tiffin
St Dunstan’s College 5-60 Coopers’ Coborn
St George’s College, Weybridge 48-7 Emanuel
St Peter’s, York 31-10 Pocklington
UCS 14-9 Mill Hill
Wellington College 38-7 Eton College
Whitchurch HS v KES Southampton
Wimbledon College 27-14 Portsmouth GS
Windsor Boys 10-40 Halliford
Latymer Upper 10-18 St Columba’s College
Pangbourne College 17-10 The Downs (County Cup Final)
Still to Come:
Bradford GS v Hymers College
Clayesmore v Monkton Combe
Dartford GS v Brentwood
Felsted v Campion
King’s Rochester v Ashford
King William’s College v Rossall
Liverpool College v St Anselm’s College
Morrison’s Academy v George Watson’s College
Mount Kelly v West Buckland
Princethorpe College v KES Stratford
QES Barnet v Watford GS
Ratcliffe College v Lawrence Sheriff
Stewart’s Melville v George Watson’s College
Trent College v King’s Worcester