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School Rugby

St Joseph’s Festival: Stunning day 1 at St Joseph’s kicks off one of the most open tournament in memory

19th October 2019
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The opening day of the 2019 St Joseph’ Festival certainly lived up to expectation as one of the most open Festivals in recent memory unfolded in front of us.

 

The additions of heavyweight school sides Wellington College and Kirkham Grammar School were almost impossibly hyped, chiefly by us, but that hype became quickly justified as both secured perfect records to finish top of their groups and head into Sunday’s Cup Groups.

 

Those Cup groups, by the way, see the top two teams from each of Saturday’s groups split into two groups of four, with the winner of those playing the final on Sunday afternoon. Similarly, third and fourth in today’s groups head to tomorrow’s Plate, where those group winners will meet in the Plate Final.

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Joining Kirkham and Wellington as group winners are Denstone College and the reigning champions, RGS Newcastle, who both also went through with perfect records of three wins from three games.

 

All four of those unbeaten sides look like De La Salle Trophy contenders, having played some outstanding rugby between them. Indeed what was consistent across the board was their ability to grind up front, something that was key for RGS Newcastle in their drive to the title last year.

 

Perhaps the story of the day though was in Group 3, where Whitchurch High School ended up as the side to join group winners Wellington College in the Cup Groups on Sunday. It is their fifth time at the Festival and their first time making it to the Cup, but what a nervy experience it was for all.

 

Below Wellington, Whitchurch, Hurstpierpoint, and Millfield all had one win and two defeats, with Try Count proving the deciding factor between them. Wellington beat all three, but Whitchurch had beat Hurstpierpoint, with Hurstpierpoint beating Millfield. That meant it all boiled down to the final round of games, Hurstpierpoint went down to Wellington College, leaving their try total for the day at 5. Whitchurch and Millfield meanwhile were going hammer and tong against each other, Millfield came out on top, 17-10, leaving them on four tries, but it turning out to be Whitchurch’s dominant win for Hurstpierpoint that did it for them, seeing them into the Cup on 6 tries. That left Millfield, the most successful side ever at the Festival, looking at a place in the Plate on Sunday.

 

Group 2 was also pretty tasty, Brighton College followed Denstone into Sunday’s Cup but only by a point after a draw against John Fisher in their final game. Fortunately for them, Denstone College made it 3 from 3 against St Peter’s York, leaving them with just one victory to their name for the day.

 

Back up to Group 1 where Kirkham Grammar went through top, it was Hampton that followed them through. Kirkham had beaten Hampton in the opening game with a last play try for a 7-3 victory. But Hampton’s response was outstanding, scoring 81 points across their next two games against Dulwich College and QEGS Wakefield, almost as if to prove a point that they were one of the favourites for this. After a performance like that, it is hard not to think that they have a huge chance.

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Finally to Group 4, which contained the champions, RGS Newcastle, and the hosts, St Joseph’s College. RGS Newcastle wen through unbeaten, and it was St Joseph’s that followed them through but not after some tough games against both Eltham College and very tough RGS High Wycombe side. With feverish home support, buoyed by Lewis Ludlam’s, their former captain, 12 minutes for England in their quarter final, the atmosphere was electric and the crowds huge. In Sunday’s Cup groups, that atmosphere could carry them a long long way, we have certainly seen it before!

 

Sunday Groups

 

To those Sunday Groups, and in Cup Group A Kirkham Grammar School and Denstone College are together as winners from groups 1 and two today. Both a real title contenders but they are joined by two sides that probably epitomise the unpredictability and passion of this tournament, in Whitchurch High School and St Joseph’s College. Whitchurch must surely think that anything could happen at this point after such a hugely dramatic day, while home side St Joseph’s College are always a threat to any side, such is the emotion. So too their play, their attacking verve was a joy at times.

 

Live Stream – Pitch 1, Day 2

 

Cup Group B contains Wellington College and RGS Newcastle as day 1 group winners, both have every chance in this tournament. Wellington are many people’s favourites around the grounds but life will be tricky, and RGS Newcastle have been fantastic, and as reigning champions they know exactly how to do it. If you want an idea of how tough this competition is going to be though, take a look at the two sides joining them, Hampton and Brighton. Hampton in their second two games looked as though they were playing on a level beyond almost anyone, they must be feeling hugely confident meanwhile. Brighton College meanwhile probably feel they have not really clicked yet, and yet here they are in the Cup groups, that surely makes them very very dangerous tomorrow.

 

Live Stream – Pitch 2, Day 2

 

Meanwhile in the Plate, the strength of the pools reflects exactly how much quality there is this competition this year. Plate Group W sees two former champions, and massive heavyweights, in Dulwich College and Millfield. Joining them are St Peter’s York and Eltham College. In any other year you could look at that and say it’s a Cup group. This group could produce some absolute fireworks.

 

As could Plate Group X, which again includes former champions in RGS High Wycombe, QEGS Wakefield, and John Fisher, as well as one of last year’s Cup stars, Hurstpierpoint College. Like Plate Group W, this Plate Group X could be absolutely spectacular on Sunday and the Plate final is already looking as though it could be of a Cup standard.

 

Bring on Day 2, if Day 1 is anything to go by, we are in for a sensational day of rugby!

 

Groups, Fixtures, & Info

 

St Joseph’s Festival Day 2 Groups:

 

Cup A Cup B Plate W Plate X
Kirkham Grammar Wellington College Dulwich College Hurstpierpoint College
Denstone College RGS Newcastle St Peter’s, York RGS High Wycombe
Whitchurch High School Hampton Millfield QEGS Wakefield
St. Joseph’s College Brighton College Eltham College John Fisher

 

St Joseph’s Festival Day 2 Schedule:

 

Pitch 1 Time & Group Pitch 2
Dulwich College v Eltham College 08.30am

Plate W

St Peter’s, York v Millfield
Kirkham Grammar v St Joseph’s College 9.05am

Cup A

Denstone College v Whitchurch High School
Hurstpierpoint College v John Fisher 09.40am

Plate X

RGS High Wycombe v QEGS Wakefield
Wellington College v Brighton College 10.15am

Cup B

RGS Newcastle v Hampton
Dulwich College v Millfield 10.50am

Plate W

St Peter’s, York v Eltham College
Denstone College v St Joseph’s College 11.25pm

Cup A

Kirkham Grammar v Whitchurch High School
Hurstpierpoint College v QEGS Wakefield 12.00pm

Plate X

RGS High Wycombe v John Fisher
Wellington College v Hampton 12.35pm

Cup B

RGS Newcastle v Brighton College
Dulwich College v St Peter’s, York 1.10pm

Plate W

Millfield v Eltham College
Whitchurch High School v St Joseph’s College 1.45pm

Cup A

Kirkham Grammar v Denstone College
Hurstpierpoint College v RGS High Wycombe 2.20pm

Plate X

QEGS Wakefield v John Fisher
Wellington College v RGS Newcastle 2.55pm

Cup B

Hampton v Brighton College
Winner W v Winner X 3.30pm

Plate Final

Winner A v Winner B 4.15pm

Cup Final

 

St Joseph’s Festival Day 1 Final Group Standings:

 

Group 1:

Pos Team W D L Points
1 Kirkham Grammar 3 0 0 6
2 Hampton 2 0 1 4
3 Dulwich College 1 0 2 2
4 QEGS Wakefield 0 0 3 0

 

Group 2:

Pos Team W D L Points
1 Denstone College 3 0 0 6
2 Brighton College 1 1 1 3
3 St Peter’s, York 1 0 2 2
4 John Fisher 0 1 2 1

 

Group 3:

Pos Team W D L Points
1 Wellington College 3 0 0 6
2 Whitchurch High School 1 0 2 2
3 Hurstpierpoint College 1 0 2 2
4 Millfield 1 0 2 2

 

Group 4:

Pos Team W D L Points
1 RGS Newcastle 3 0 3 6
2 St Joseph’s College 2 0 1 4
3 RGS High Wycombe 1 0 2 2
4 Eltham College 0 0 3 0

 

St Joseph’s Festival Day 1 Results:

 

Pitch 1 Time & Group Pitch 2
Hampton 3-7 Kirkham Grammar 9.00am

Group 1

Dulwich College 10-7 QEGS Wakefield
John Fisher 10-13 St Peter’s York 9.40am

Group 2

Brighton College 5-14 Denstone College
Hurstpierpoint College 14-10 Millfield 10.20am

Group 3

Wellington College 41-0 Whitchurch HS
RGS High Wycombe 14-17 St Joseph’s College 11.00am

Group 4

Eltham College 3-26 RGS Newcastle
Hampton 40-0 QEGS Wakefield 11.40am

Group 1

Dulwich College 0-15 Kirkham Grammar
Brighton College 29-5 St Peter’s York 12.20pm

Group 2

Denstone College 17-8 John Fisher
Millfield 3-12 Wellington College 1.00pm

Group 3

Hurstpierpoint College 7-31 Whitchurch HS
RGS Newcastle 15-6 St Joseph’s College 1.40pm

Group 4

Eltham College 7-12 RGS High Wycombe
Dulwich College 0-41 Hampton 2.20pm

Group 1

Kirkham Grammar 12-3 QEGS Wakefield
Denstone College 15-0 St Peter’s York 3.00pm

Group 2

Brighton College 12-12 John Fisher
Millfield 17-10 Whitchurch HS 3.40pm

Group 3

Hurstpierpoint College 14-22 Wellington College
Eltham College 12-31 St Joseph’s College 4.20pm

Group 4

RGS High Wycombe 10-25 RGS Newcastle