A brilliant opening day of action at the 2018 St Joseph’s Festival saw RGS Newcastle emerge as one of the favourites for the De La Salle Trophy.
In a brutally tough Group 3 they beat Hampton, Brighton College, and St Peter’ York to seal their place as top seeds, meaning they will be a group with Merchiston Castle, Hurstpierpoint College, and Denstone College on Sunday, with the winner of that heading to the final.
They signaled their intent with some very direct and physical rugby right from the off as they beat Hampton 23-5. That, plus their win over reigning champions Brighton College, meant that when the final round of games in the group took place they had already qualified, which meant the Brighton v Hampton game was a straight shootout for the second Cup spot in the group.
Brighton won that 27-7, a brilliant performance, sending them to Cup Group A where they will face Dulwich College, Millfield, and the hosts, St Joseph’s College. St Peter’s York, who have RGS a bit of a scare in the last game, and Hampton head into the Plate groups.
Dulwich College also went through the day unbeaten, beating QEGS Wakefield and Seaford College comfortably early on, before a late try against Hurstpierpoint College earned them top spot in the group. Both sides were already through though, Hurstpierpoint’s early victory over Seaford was key and they were in control against QEGS.
In Group 4, where host side St Joseph’s College reside, it came down to a final game battle between the hosts and Merchiston Castle, who were both unbeaten. Merchiston Castle took top spot, playing classic St Joseph’s Festival as they took a 12-0 lead and then controlled the game. St Joseph’s rallied, but could only close to 12-7, leaving Merchiston facing RGS Newcastle, Hurstperpoint, and Denstone tomorrow, while St Joseph’s are in a real group of death with both of last year’s finalists Brighton College and Millfield, and the reigning Champions Trophy champions, Dulwich College.
Millfield made it to that group with some seriously impressive rugby early on, but then in a dramatic twist in the final round of games we were left with the tightest group of the lot.
Millfield were already through, and faced Denstone College who had to win to qualify for the Cup, while Eltham College faced RGS High Wycombe, with the same scenario. Should both win, try count would be the decider but given Millfield’s form, it seemed an unlikely scenario.
Unlikely, maybe, but not impossible. Denstone College pulled out a stunning performance to catch Millfield cold, securing a 26-14 victory. Denstone’s try count was high, so while Eltham College were an impressive 17-0 up against RGS High Wycombe, they needed more, but unfortunately for the South East Londoners they had given all that they possibly could
All of which means that the two Cup groups on Sunday are as follows:
Group 1: Dulwich College, Millfield, Brighton College, St Joseph’s College
Group 2: RGS Newcastle, Merchiston Castle, Hurstpierpoint College, Denstone College
Both look like brutally tough groups, as ever at the St Joseph’s Festival – winning it is always done the hard way. The format is that the winner of each Cup group on Sunday meets in the Cup final at the end of the day.
Group 1 looks unbelievably tough, St Jo’s will be fired up, while with reigning champions Brighton, last year’s finalists Millfield, and unbeaten Dulwich, their competition is red hot.
Group 2 is not much easier, RGS Newcastle have been outstanding, while Merchiston are unbeaten too. Hurstpierpoint very nearly topped their group, and Denstone College showed their class as they beat the outstanding Millfield. Quite the quartet!
Over in the Plate, meanwhile, the groups look equally tough:
Group 1: Seaford College, Eltham College, St Peter’s York, Whitchurch High School
Group 2: Hampton, John Fisher, QEGS Wakefield, RGS High Wycombe
Eltham College will doubtless be determined to go one better than last year, when they reached Plate final, particularly after missing out on the Cup by such a fine margin. Meanwhile Hampton in Group 2 will surely be smarting after such a tough draw saw them end up in the Plate, they will be determined to win it but have reigning Plate champions QEGS Wakefield in their group.
Day 1 and Day 2 Groups & Fixtures and Results:
2018 St Joseph’s Festival Day 1 Groups – Final Standings
|4||RGS High Wycombe||0||0||3||0|
|4||St Peter’s, York||0||0||3||0|
|2||St Joseph’s College||2||0||1||4|
2018 St Joseph’s Festival Day 1 Fixtures
|Pitch 1||Time||Pitch 2|
|Hurstpierpoint 19-10 Seaford College||09.00||Dulwich College 26-0 QEGS Wakefield|
|Denstone College 0-13 Eltham College||09.40||Millfield 29-0 RGS High Wycombe|
|Hampton 5-23 RGS Newcastle||10.20||Brighton College 15-0 St Peter’s, York|
|St Joseph’s College 10-5 Whitchurch||11.00||John Fisher 10-19 Merchiston Castle|
|Dulwich College 22-5 Seaford College||11.40||Hurstpierpoint 17-0 QEGS Wakefield|
|Eltham College 5-31 Millfield||12.20||Denstone 22-17 RGS High Wycombe|
|Brighton College 3-15 RGS Newcastle||13.00||Hampton 24-0 St Peter’s, York|
|John Fisher 0-12 St Joseph’s College||13.40||Merchiston Castle 20-7 Whitchurch|
|QEGS Wakefield 0-21 Seaford College||14.20||Dulwich College 12-7 Hurstpierpoint|
|Eltham 17-0 RGS High Wycombe||15.00||Denstone College 26-14 Millfield|
|RGS Newcastle 15-10 St Peter’s, York||15.40||Brighton College 27-7 Hampton|
|Merchiston Castle 12-7 St Joseph’s||16.20||John Fisher 17-10 Whitchurch|
2018 St Joseph’s Festival Day 2 Groups
|Group A (Cup)||Group B (Cup)||Group X (Plate)||Group Y (Plate)|
|Dulwich College||RGS Newcastle||Seaford College||Hampton|
|Millfield||Merchiston Castle||Eltham College||John Fisher|
|Brighton College||Hurstpierpoint||St Peter’s York||QEGS Wakefield|
|St Joseph’s College||Denstone College||Whitchurch HS||RGS HW|
2018 St Joseph’s Festival Day 2 Fixtures
|Pitch 1||Time||Pitch 2|
|Seaford v Whitchurch||08.30||St Peter’s v Eltham|
|Dulwich v St Joseph’s||09.05||Millfield v Brighton|
|Hampton v RGS High Wycombe||09.40||John Fisher v QEGS Wakefield|
|Denstone v RGS Newcastle||10.15||Hurstpierpoint v Merchiston|
|Seaford v St Peter’s||10.50||Whitchurch v Eltham|
|Millfield v St Joseph’s||11.25||Dulwich v Brighton|
|Hampton v QEGS Wakefield||12.00||John Fisher v RGS High Wycombe|
|Hurstpierpoint v RGS Newcastle||12.35||Denstone v Merchiston|
|Eltham v Seaford||13.10||St Peter’s v Whitchurch|
|Brighton v St Joseph’s||13.45||Dulwich v Millfield|
|Hampton v John Fisher||14.20||QEGS Wakefield v RGS HW|
|Merchiston v RGS Newcastle||14.55||Hurstpierpoint v Denstone|
|Plate Final – 15.30 – Pitch 1|
|Cup Final – 16.15 – Pitch 1|