One of the standout fixtures of the opening weekend was the visit of Oakham to Stowe.
Oakham were in the unusual position of being underdogs, something that is a rarity for them given their outstanding reputation and history in schoolboy rugby.
Stowe though are reported to have one of their strongest sides ever, and on the back of a successful season last year were straining at the leash to begin this years campaign.
What unraveled was a pulsating encounter, showcasing the very best of school rugby.
Ruaraidh Smith, Oakham full back and Captain reports:
Oakham travelled away to Stowe for their first fixture of the year, which is always a very physical encounter and well contested game.
Oakham started strong by dominating possession in the first twenty minutes of the game, which lead to a penalty just inside Stowe’s half, allowing Ollie Allman to step up and put them three points ahead. Stowe bounced back strongly and managed to edge ahead with a converted try, from some smooth offloading play.
Thomas Conant showed the crowd his pace by running around his opposite man, from a set piece move, ending in a try close to the touchline. Half time score 8-7.
Both teams came out in the second half with all guns blazing knowing that this fixture could go either way.
Stowe lacked defensive organisation in the second half and allowed opposition runners to break through, however Oakham failed to convert these opportunities in to points as the execution wasn’t precise enough.
The Buckinghamshire team did not hesitate to kick for goal when they were awarded a penalty 30 metres out from the try line. A composed kick from Stowe’s number twelve put the home side ahead, 10-8.
Both teams showed desire and passion to score tries, towards the end, however inaccurate execution meant that the scoreline stayed the same and the home side was victorious after eighty minutes. Final score 10-8.
Both sides will feel that this game bodes well for the rest of the season, the standard and intensity of the game was set at an incredible level, particularly considering that it was the opening fixture of the year.
Stowe will not come across many greater threats to their try line this year, while Oakham will take a lot of confidence from pushing such a top side so close.
As inside centre Ollie Allman said, â€˜It was genuinely one of the best games Iâ€™ve ever played in, we played fantastically despite the score and it was such an open and intense game!â€™. There is much to take heart from, as Oakham look on now towards Nottingham High School.
Stowe, meanwhile, take on Whitgift in what promises to be another top class encounter. Off the back of two Daily Mail Cup wins in the last 3 years, Whitgift will be a tough side to beat, but this Stowe side will be confident of their abilty to win the tough games after this result.Â
15. R. Smith (c) 14. J. Stables 13. O. Hadfield 12. O. Allman 11. T. Connant 10. B. Lewis 9. J. Jameson 1. R. Lee 2. M. Russell 3. L. Tandy 4. F. Warburton 5. H. Thain 6. O. Patel-Champion 7. F. Tufail-Smith 8. S. Murphy
16. C. Claisse 17. K. Frolich 18. M. Rose