Huge school fixtures this weekend.


In a packed weekend of fixtures after a horribly weather affected schedule last week, there are three that particularly catch the eye tomorrow, Dulwich v Tonbridge, Wellington v St Paul’s and Radley v Harrow.

Dulwich, the Daily Mail Cup holders, have arguably been better this season than they were in their record-breaking season last year. Unbeaten in regular season game, with just a draw at Wellington spoiling the perfect season, they have been magnificent.

Their only blip came at the St Joseph’s Festival where they narrowly lost in the semi final to Millfield, St Jo’s was played as 10 minute halves though so does have a slightly different spin to it.

In Obano, Reason, Ibuanokpe and Fraser they have some of the season’s stand out performers across the country while in Dom Wroe-Wright, they have one of the outstanding opensides in the country captaining them.

Tonbridge though have been far better than the perception of their results suggest, where losses against Epsom, Radley, Harrow and St Paul’s at first looked like a lot, the reality is that these have been some of the strongest school sides in the country this year, indeed Radley, St Paul’s and Epsom have only lost one game each this season.

With their injury crisis finally over and Blandford and Eliet right up at their best, this proud rugby school are looking as competitive as ever. Let’s not forget that their unbeaten run from 2005-2007, spanning 3 seasons, has instilled a unity of spirit and a determination into all Tonbridge sides.

In a derby game like this anything can happen but it would be a surprise to see Dulwich slip up at home at this stage. It would be impressive if they manage to score as many tries as they have averaged lately though.

Verdict – Dulwich by less than 10.

Wellington versus St Paul’s is another high-octane game, and qualifies really as a bit of a derby. Wellington will be looking to get back to winning ways after the disappointment of defeat against Millfield in midweek. They had been desperate to win the game and to prove their status as a top side and must ensure they recover fast.

The fact is though that regardless of that defeat, Wellington have been in sensational form recently, defeat to Millfield was only their second of the season and their possession and power heavy game that they had against Millfield would utterly dominate most sides.

St Paul’s though are one of the few sides around who are on a level footing with Wellington, their only defeat has been to Marlborough (who were the only side to have beaten Wellington until Wednesday) and they have been simply outstanding in all areas of play.

This is likely to be an even closer contest than Dulwich v Tonbridge, with both sides competing on an almost exactly even basis all season. Home advantage may well be the only difference between the to sides here, with the Wellington crowd one of the best in the country.

Verdict – Wellington by less than a score.

Radley have been the surprise package of the season, few were predicting them to be mixing it with the big boys this year but they have defied the doubters. Their only defeat came in just the second weekend of the season against the excellent St Paul’s side described above.

To prove just how good they are this season, they became the only side to defeat the seemingly unstoppable Marlborough this season. With excellent interchange between their 10 & 12 they are a real force to be reckoned with.

Harrow, meanwhile, have also been in fairly surprising form. Up until recently their only defeat had been to Wellington, no great disgrace, and they had taken some impressive scalps.

Talk was beginning to circulate that they may be the big surprise package of the season before a shock defeat to Oundle rather dented that belief. A win away at Radley would certainly have people talking about them in the clubhouses again though.

In all likelihood though Radley will win this one, but it will be a hard fought game and Harrow will not lie down. Defeat against Oundle stung them and revenge is what they are after.

Verdict – Radley by over 10.

Elsewhere there are a number of fixtures that a well worth keeping an eye on, they are listed below, plus a few predictions of ours:

Marlborough v Cheltenham – Marlborough, one of the top 3 sides in the country.

Sherborne v Clifton – Sherborne, should be strong enough.

Haileybury v Oundle – Oundle, too much class.

Colston’s v Bromsgrove – Colston’s, just.

Bedford v Rugby – Very, very close call. Rugby by a whisker.

St Edward’s Oxford v Abingdon – Close but Teddy’s

Eton v John Fisher – John Fisher, Fisher are just too good a side.

Cranleigh v Reeds – Big derby, Cranleigh win.

Whitgift v St Joseph’s – Whitgift, huge game but Whitgift are desperate to prove themselves.

Monmouth v Millfield – Millfield, far too much quality to lose this.

Durham v St Peter’s York – Durham, unbeaten, top quality side.

Stamford v St Alban’s – Stamford, unbeaten, not about to let that slip now.

RGS High Wycombe v St Benedict’s – RGS, close call but RGS have been more consistent

KES Bath v Prior Park – Prior Park, their quality in the centres should make the difference.

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