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Daily Mail heats up as we move towards the business end

The U18 Daily Mail Cup is beginning to take real shape as we move towards Round 5 of the competition, in effect the regional semi finals.

With some of the strongest sides in the country safely through, it is now that we begin to see some truly exciting fixtures.

Last year’s champions Dulwich, who have only lost to Millfield this year, have negotiated their way to Round 5 with relative ease, but fixtures against Hurstpierpoint and then either KCS Wimbledon or Skinners will be anything but.

In the other London & South East group, Whigift v John Fisher and St Paul’s v King’s in Round 4 are truly outstanding fixtures and with the winner of the latter game going on to play Hampton, it will be well worth watching.

Last year’s finalists Old Swinford Hospital have a tough fixture against King’s Worcester before potential clashes against Norwich and then Daily Mail legends Oakham if they negotiate their next fixture.

Oakham’s vanquishers at the weekend, Stamford, will feel excited about their prospects of making it out of Midlands B. A Round 5 game against Bishop’s Stortford High School, followed by the best of Warwick, Solihull, Trent or KES Birmingham wont be easy though.

In the North, Durham have conquered all before them so far this season and will feel that Hutton Grammar in Round 4 can be easily dispatched. Round 5 against the winners of RGS Newcastle or Ampleforth will be a different prospect though but having beaten both already this season they will be confident.

In North B Barnard Castle and King’s School, Macclesfield looks a mouth-watering fixture in Round 5, while Wirral Grammar School, Lymm High, Hymers and QEGS Wakefield are still battling to see who will face the winner. With such a strong Daily Mail pedigree though, it seems hard to see beyond QEGS from those four.

So to the South West where a number of fixtures have been on and off due to the weather. In Group A, much depends on Millfield’s appetite for the tournament, due to other commitments and weather they are still to play their Round 3 fixture.

Should the fixture be completed and Millfield begin to blood more 1st XV players into the tournament then they ought to progress with ease, though Truro College, RGS High Wycombe and Colston’s may have something to say about that.

Colston’s in particular given their huge Daily Mail Cup record will believe they can go far and play Sir Thomas Rich’s on Thursday in a rearranged fixture.

In Group B Marlborough seem the likely side to progress given their fine form this season, but Stowe and Sherborne in particular are strong sides capable of giving them a tough game.

Dulwich, Durham, Millfield and Marlborough look like the sides to beat but as ever with knockout rugby, anything can happen. What is for certain though is that things are about to start getting a whole lot more exciting.

Daily Mail Cup (U18)

London & South East A

KCS Wimbledon v Skinners

Dulwich v Hurstpierpoint

London & South East B

Whitgift or John Fisher v Sussex Downs

Hampton v St Paul’s or King’s College, Canterbury

Midlands A

King’s, Worcester or Old Swinford Hospital v Norwich

Oakham v Northampton School for Boys or Adams Grammar

Midlands B

Warwick or Solihull v KES, Birmingham or Trent

Stamford v Bishop’s Stortford HS

North A

Woodhouse Grove or RGS Lancaster v Wilmslow High

Hutton Grammar or Durham v RGS Newcastle or Ampleforth

North B

Wirral GS for Boys or Lymm High v Hymers or QEGS

Barnard Castle v King’s, Macclesfield

South West A

Truro or Exeter v Blundells or Millfield/Bridgwater

Pangbourne or RGS High Wycombe v Sir Thomas Rich’s or Colston’s

South West B

Beechen Cliff or Sherborne v Gillingham or Bishop Wordsworth’s

Marlborough v Stowe

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