The opening weekend of the season certainly provided the type of excitement that was predicted, with some stunning games of rugby being played across the country.
Despite almost biblical rainfall at times, the standard was high, with some wonderful rugby played and some great tries popping up all over Twitter.
Our ten ‘Focus On’ fixtures were almost all tight games, while across the rest of the country there were some truly stunning performances, including an 82-0 win for QEGS Wakefield over RGS Lancaster.
Abingdon sealed the tightest possible victory over Berkhamsted, a 15-14 win away from home. These two have been impressive for a couple of years, and expect both to continue that this year.
Cranleigh’s success of last year continued as they beat Brighton College 29-17 in their opening game of the season. In truth it was a closer game than the scoreline suggested, but the signs are that once again Cranleigh will be fighting it out among the best this year.
There was a brilliant game in the West Midlands as two schoolboy heavyweight in Bromsgrove and Warwick met. The lead changed hands and a few times and was tense throughout, but the Schools Cup champions, Warwick, held off a Bromsgrove rally to seal a 29-22 victory away from home.
Up at Kingston Park RGS Newcastle and Durham met for their annual season opener in front of a big crowd. RGS put in a strong performance, winning 13-3, with Durham defending well to stay in the game throughout.
RGS High Wycombe bounced back from last weekend’s heavy defeat to Wellington College with a strong 17-5 away win against Eton College, a result that bodes well for them for the season ahead.
Oundle and Bedford played out a thriller in Northamptonshire, with Bedford running out as narrow 27-23 victors. Bedford’s next game is against Oundle’s big rivals, Uppingham, who themselves were on form at the weekend with a strong win over Royal Hospital School.
Sedbergh and Whitgift put on a real show up in Cumbria, with both sides really going for it. Ill discipline cost both at times, but it was Sedbergh who came away victorious, winning 20-13 and scoring a couple of wonderful tries through Hodge and Redpath.
In Buckinghamshire Stowe welcomed Marlborough College for a game that we felt might give a bit of an indication about where these two sides stand for the season ahead. Both have the potential to be strong, and certainly kept things close in this opening weekend, with Stowe just coming out ahead, 19-17.
Wellington College v Dulwich College has always been one of the early season highlights and it proved so once again on Saturday. Wellington won a real titanic game of rugby 26-21. Both sides butchered a few chances with the rain hammering down making handling rather tricky, and Dulwich could have sneaked the win, but it was a deserved victory for Wellington College, who look to have plenty of promise for the season ahead.
Our final ‘Focus On’ fixture was Woodhouse Grove v St Peter’s, York. These two both finished in the top 10 of the Daily Mail Trophy last year, with St Peter’s finishing 4th, and that form was apparent on Saturday. St Peter’s retained the edge of Woodhouse Grove, securing a 24-12 win, but expect both sides to once again prove a threat.
Around the Grounds
There were some astonishingly big victories in certain quarters on Saturday, none more so than QEGS Wakefield’s stunning 82-0 effort over RGS Lancaster, who picked up a few decent results last year.
Campion also impressed with a 62-0 win over Aylesbury Grammar, while Merchant Taylors’ picked up a 52-0 win over Cokethorpe and Harrow were 72-0 winners against Norwich.
Stamford also opened in style, beating Leicester Grammar 60-0, while Shiplake were almost as impressive in their 55-3 defeat of Windsor Boys, Newcastle-under-Lyme meanwhile ridiculed our prediction with a brilliant 52-5 win over Rydal Penrhos.
There were plenty of close games too, Sherborne just edged out Bishop Wordsworth’s in front of a healthy crowd, winning by the tightest of margins, 14-13. Solihull meanwhile secured a tight 10-8 win over local rivals King’s Worcester.
There was a close game in the first Schools Cup game of the season, Mill Hill beat QES Barnet 21-17 in the NatWest Vase first round.
Hereford Cathedral were narrow 17-15 victors over Adams Grammar, while Bishop Vesey’s and Trent College played out a thrilling draw, 20-20. Bloxham, meanwhile, were 17-15 victors at Magdalen College.
One of the game over the day was Sir Thomas Rich’s v Bristol Grammar. It had everything, including wonderful tries and a stunning comeback as Sir Thomas Rich’s just squeaked it, 26-25. Caterham’s win over KCS Wimbledon was equally close at 13-12.
Most of the familiar names at the top of the table got off to decent starts, with wins for Tonbridge, St John’s Leatherhead, and Clifton College all winning.
Oakham beat a good Dentstone College side 28-14, while Rugby were off to a good start, beating King’s Macclesfield 22-3, Epsom College were off to a flyer beating St Paul’s 32-7 to lay down a real marker.
New Hall and Felsted are both off to strong starts with wins over the Perse and King’s Canterbury respectively. Cheltenham College were 24-7 winners over Malvern College.
Haileybury’s season is off to a strong and exciting start as they won a thriller against St Edward’s Oxford 29-25.
One of the big stories of the day was a brilliant win for Canford at home to Millfield. Against one of the historically strongest teams on the circuit, Canford sealed an 18-5 win, suggesting a strong season lies ahead.
Friday Night Lights
There were three big games on Friday, perhaps none bigger than Kirkham Grammar v Llandovery College. One of the best in England against one of the best in Wales. The game went the way of the English, with Kirkham winning 39-25 in Oswestry.
Over at Darlington Mowden Park Barnard Castle were on form against Yarm, beating their local rivals 48-5, meanwhile in the South West St Peter’s Gloucester put in a tremendous effort against AASE side, Henley College. Henley won, 12-10, but St Peter’s will fell more than proud of their effort.
You can see photos from the weekend’s rugby here: School Rugby Photos, Saturday 9th September – And 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).
Schools Rugby Weekend Results – Saturday 9th September:
Berkhamsted 14-15 Abingdon
Brighton College 17-29 Cranleigh
Bromsgrove 22-29 Warwick
Durham 3-13 RGS Newcastle (Kingston Park)
Eton College 5-17 RGS High Wycombe
Oundle 23-27 Bedford
Sedbergh 20-13 Whitgift
Stowe 19-17 Marlborough College
Wellington College 26-21 Dulwich College
Woodhouse Grove 14-24 St Peter’s, York
Adams GS 15-17 Hereford Cathedral
AKS Arnold 12-7 Giggleswick
Ampleforth College 14-40 Grammar School at Leeds
Ashville College 10-29 Pocklington
Aylesbury GS 0-62 Campion
Bishop’s Stortford HS 0-26 St Albans
Bishop Vesey’s GS 20-20 Trent College
Bloxham 17-15 Magdalen College
Bradford GS 33-12 Hymers College
Brentwood 18-15 Bancroft’s
Bristol GS 25-26 Sir Thomas Rich’s
Calday Grange GS 22-24 Manchester GS
Canford 18-5 Millfield
Caterham 13-12 KCS Wimbledon
Cheadle Hulme 12-24 Altrincham GS
Christ’s Hospital 14-31 Emanuel
Churcher’s College 15-18 Worth
City of London Freemen’s 29-17 Chislehurst & Sidcup GS
Clifton College 36-12 Monmouth
Cokethorpe 0-52 Merchant Taylors’
Crossley Heath 45-0 Krikham GS (2nd XV)
Culford 48-3 King’s Ely
Dean Close 36-7 RGS Worcester
Edinburgh Academy 12-15 Dollar Academy
Ellesmere College 5-19 Old Swinford Hospital
Fettes College 43-10 Robert Gordon’s College
Framlingham College 0-12 Gresham’s
George Heriot’s 50-0 Glasgow Academy
George Watson’s 17-7 Strathallan
Glyn 31-15 London Oratory
Gordon’s 9-27 Latymer Upper
Haberdashers 20-21 St Columba’s College
Haileybury 29-25 St Edward’s, Oxford
Harrow 72-0 Norwich
Hutcheson’s 14-27 Kelvinside Academy
Judd 27-0 Eltham College
KES Bath 10-29 Kingswood
KES Southampton 43-12 Halliford
KES Stratford 31-17 Nottingham HS
King’s Canterbury 21-45 Felsted
King Henry VIII, Coventry 15-5 Princethorpe College
Loretto 38-0 Bell Baxter
Loughborough 7-48 Northampton SfB
Malvern College 7-24 Cheltenham College
Mill Hill 21-17 QES Barnet (NatWest Vase)
Newcastle-Under-Lyme 52-5 Rydal Penrhos
Oakham 28-14 Denstone College
Perse 27-42 New Hall
Portsmouth GS 17-20 RGS Guildford
QEGS Wakefield 82-0 RGS Lancaster
Ravens Wood 52-12 Trinity (2nd XV)
Reigate GS 12-24 Tiffin
RGS Colchester 51-0 Coopers’ Coborn
Richard Hale 49-5 Watford GS
Rugby 22-3 King’s Macclesfield
Seaford College 17-7 Hurstpierpoint College
Sevenoaks 36-26 Cranbrook
Sherborne 14-13 Bishop Wordsworth’s
Shiplake College 55-3 Windsor Boys
Skinners’ 18-14 Langley Park
Solihull 10-8 King’s Worcester
Stamford 60-0 Leicester GS
Stewart’s Melville 10-18 Merchiston Castle
St Dunstan’s 0-45 Colfe’s
St George’s, Harpenden 33-17 UCS
St Olave’s GS 31-17 Wallington CGS
St Paul’s 7-32 Epsom College
Stockport GS 7-41 Sandbach
Tonbridge 34-0 Eastbourne College
Uppingham 38-3 Royal Hospital School
Wells Cathedral 15-20 Wycliffe College
Wellingborough 36-19 Lawrence Sherriff
Wellington School 36-19 Exeter School
Wilmslow HS 12-7 St Ambrose College
Wimbledon College 7-38 St John’s Leatherhead
Worksop College 17-0 King’s Grantham
Wrekin College 10-12 KES Birmingham
Wymondham College 15-31 Wisbech Grammar
Barnard Castle 48-5 Yarm (at Darlington Mowden Park)
Kirkham GS 39-25 Llandovery College (Oswestry)
St Peter’s, Gloucester 10-12 Henley College
Still to come:
Ipswich v St Joseph’s College
King’s College, Taunton v Taunton School
Radley College v Pangbourne College
Reading Blue Coat v Lord Wandsworth College