Our Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend returns this week after a stunning opening weekend of the season.
As ever a number of factors come into consideration when selecting the five, generally speaking they will have fun, though a side expected to struggle that then gets a close result would certainly be considered. Who a side was playing, what was expected, how they performed, how the opposition considers them to have played all comes into it.
Of course this opening week is somewhat different in that there is only so much information with which to predict how teams were expected to do, nonetheless, here is our stab at a top five for the opening weekend.
Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend
Anyone that saw the highlights of Denstone College’s 52-3 opening day win over King’s Macclesfield will know just how impressive they were. They scored some simply outstanding tries and had forwards and back looking utterly indistinguishable in their handling, running, and broken play intelligence. Remember King’s Macclesfield are a school with a strong reputation, sure Denstone started as favourites, but a victory like this was a big statement.
In recent years Eastbourne have struggled for consistent results, it happen to most schools where school policy is perhaps focused elsewhere and there happens to be a run of pupils with interests elsewhere. On Saturday though Eastbourne made a big statement as they travelled to Portsmouth Grammar School, a side ordinarily around the same level, and came home with a whopping 50-7 victory. It should have every player in that squad buoyed and excited for the season ahead and marks Eastbourne out as a side that many will keep an eye on over the coming weeks.
Noises were that Seaford were expected to have a decent season, but in Hurstpierpoint College on Saturday they faced a side that many have pinned as a real team to watch this year. On the evidence of Saturday, that theory must now apply to both sides after they put on a really top class encounter, which Seaford won 20-12. It is a significant victory, and one that ought to give them the confidence to build into a very strong season indeed.
It is almost becoming clichéd to have Sedbergh in these lists, but when they keep producing against top class sides their place keeps on being justified. After back to back years of winning basically everything in their sight, including a ‘double-triple’, you could be forgiven for expecting a dip. On Sunday’s evidence, that dip is far from on the horizon as they beat Whitgift 27-7. This is a Whitgift side, remember, that are Schools Cup holders and have retained plenty of those players. A Whitgift side that also won the prestigious Esher President’s Cup in pre-season. It was a formidable performance from the men in brown.
Much like Sedbergh, perhaps it is a bit of a cliché having Wellington College in the Top 5 on the opening weekend, but then looks at the performance and result they produced. A 31-0 win over Dulwich College. Whether in a brilliant year, a good year, or a bad year, Dulwich are always a good side and a tough nut to crack, yet on this opening day Wellington College, the reigning Champions Trophy champs, not only beat them well but they conceded zero points too. Like Sedbergh’s win the following day, it was just a formidable result and performance, and all the more admirable for including thirteen of their fifteen U15 Schools Cup winners of a couple of years ago in the starting fifteen.
There are honourable mentions aplenty, of course. Not least the likes of Sutton Valence, UCS, Stamford, Mill Hill, and Watford Grammar School, who all posted some phenomenal scores. So too Barnard Castle, with a stunning 53-0 win at Dame Allan’s under new head of rugby Lee Dickson.
From out ‘Focus On’ fixtures RGS Newcastle’s performance at Kingston Park against Durham deserves plenty of praise, so too victories for Rugby School, Bromsgrove, and St Peter’s, all of whom look well set for strong seasons.
Elsewhere, a first win at Eton in a decade for John Fisher was a brilliant result, while Sevenoaks’ 43-20 win at Caterham certainly caught our attention. Oundle and Sherborne marked themselves out in our eyes as sides to keep an eye on with dominant wins over Bedford and Bishop Wordsworth’s respectively, while Kirkham Grammar seem to be as good as ever as they stormed to victory over Llandovery College.