Another weekend, another excellent round of schools rugby matches. It may have been wet and miserable at times, but the rugby certainly brightened things up.
The general theme of the weekend was of some thrillingly tight contests, perhaps in part due to weather conditions, but in the main due to some really excellent competitive fixtures right across the board.
Selecting a top five was a nightmare, as ever, and special mention should go out to the likes of Denstone College, Downside, and Clifton College, who all enjoyed spectacularly impressive victories, so too Eltham College, who remain unbeaten and are playing outstandingly well. Indeed Eltham and Denstone came particularly close to this weeks top five, only the relatively below par seasons of their opponents counting against them. Clifton College also impressed, a 43-14 victory over Cheltenham is no mean feat.
On to the Top 5 though, and given the performances that have not made the cut, the five that have were particularly impressive in our eyes.
Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend
Blundell’s are a strong side, that much has been clear all season. Only St John’s Leatherhead and Clifton College have beaten them, and both in really tough games that could have swung either way. They were underdogs against Millfield though, a side that were unbeaten and playing some of the very best rugby in the country. An almighty game of schools rugby broke out, two top class sides going head to head and not giving an inch, but it was Blundell’s that came out on top and by the narrowest of margins, 15-14. It was such a tough victory to achieve, and one that should give them a huge amount of confidence over the rest of the season.
Somehow Norwich’s spectacular unbeaten season is still rather quietly going under the radar, this is despite beating the likes of Felsted twice. They have now beaten Gresham’s twice too. Earlier in the season they beat them 32-10, but on Saturday they showed just how confident they are feeling now by going even better, this time winning 50-14. The Norfolk side are playing some spectacular stuff and must be itching for that Schools Cup tie against Rugby next week. It will be their toughest game of the season by far, but this ambitious and talented group will surely just be hugely excited by that challenge.
RGS Newcastle earned a bonus spot in last week’s Top 5 after their St Joseph’s Festival triumph, but this week they are on the list due to exploits done on the actual weekend in question. Their game against St Peter’s York on Saturday doubled up as a Schools Cup last 32 tie, so there was plenty of pressure. Once again though RGS lived up to that pressure for a dominant 36-3 victory to send them into the last 16. They are proving to be an incredibly tough side at the moment, and though they face unbeaten Woodhouse Grove in the next round, they will feel after such a run of strong performances that they have every chance in what will be a massively competitive game.
St Edward’s, Oxford
It has been a long old term for Teddies. They lost every game prior to half term and then after losing to Stowe last week, who were in the same position giving Teddies their best chance, confidence must have been low – it is only natural that it would. Saturday’s 15-0 win over Uppingham then was a triumph on so many levels, a triumph simply in that it was a victory, but also a triumph in overcoming that blow last week and in finding a way to win. Not only that but they must have taken huge satisfaction in keeping the opposition to zero points. This is an Uppingham side that have been enjoying one of their best seasons for a few years now. A well deserved spot in the Top 5 for St Edward’s, and a well-earned victory.
Only Cranleigh had beaten Caterham when they came to visit Sutton Valence on Saturday, so the hosts knew that they had a seriously tough task on their hands right from the off. They were confident though, they too had only been beaten once, by Hayes in the Cup, but the head to heads against common opponents suggested a struggle lay ahead. 40-26 v Colfe’s for Sutton, 40-5 for Caterham and 27-26 v Christ’s for Sutton, 52-0 for Caterham. The home side proved any doubters absolutely wrong in a cracking game on Saturday though as they claimed a really hard fought 22-17 victory that ought to serve as the high-water mark of their season to date. A fantastic result.