After the thrills and spills of the opening weekend of the season the second weekend had rather a lot to deliver on, but deliver it did. It may not have been as jaw dropping but for sheer intensity it was brilliant.
The big news of the opening weekend was RGS High Wycombeâ€™s close win over Wellington College and Millfieldâ€™s draw with Warwick. Both Wellington and Millfield had been among the very best sides around last year and to see them falter in the opening weekend surprised many, despite Warwickâ€™s and particularly RGSâ€™ quality.
It was therefore a delight that a quirk of the fixture calendar saw Millfield travel to RGS High Wycombe this week, whilst RGSâ€™ opponents last week, Wellington, travelled to the back to back Daily Mail Cup winners (now NatWest Cup) Dulwich College. For anyone looking to gauge the relative positions of each team these fixtures were the perfect solution.
That gauge was well and truly provided; Millfield beat RGS 36-20, a supremely impressive result given the quality that resides in the RGS changing rooms this year. The disappointment of that opening weekend draw was clear from the Millfieldians all week but they showed their quality and resilience this week.
For RGS it will be a bit of a comedown but they must remain confident, winning two from two against Wellington and Millfield would have been a very special achievement indeed. They will know that one loss does not change the opportunity that they have this year.
Wellington proved just that point by going to the back-to-back champions back yard and beating them 22-15, a fine statement of just how capable Wellington are, do not be fooled by reports that Dulwich are not the side that they were either â€“ they scored 60 points last week, but not only that, their superhuman forward power is also very much still in evidence â€“ to beat them at home proved Wellingtonâ€™s quality.
Of our four most featured games this weekend, Barnard Castleâ€™s 48-22 victory against Yarm particularly stands out as a scoreline. Last year Barnard Castle dropped a little from their usual impeccable standards while Yarm showed their quality by winning the Daily Mail Vase (now the NatWest Vase).
The signs that Barnard Castle might be heading back to their true form were in evidence last weekend against Durham, despite losing they took one of the heavyweights of the school scene right to the wire, giving themselves plenty to be confident about.
So it proved, a 48-22 victory is impressive enough against anyone but against Yarm it is a truly excellent result, making the school that produced the likes of the Underwoods, Rob Andrew and Matthew Tait, definitely one to keep an eye on.
The last of our four big games was Bryanston v Marlborough. Marlborough got off to a fine start last weekend by beating Monmouth, however for Bryanston this was their first game of the season â€“ not that anyone would have been able to tell, they won 30-15, a magnificent scoreline against one of the superstar sides of 2012/13 and a side that will surely be up there again this year.
Elsewhere, there was huge disappointment that the Durham v RGS Newcastle could not be played at Kingston Park, however it was moved to Saturday morning at Durham and a superbly gripping game ensued.
Durham won it 25-24, maintaining their status from last year as the North Eastâ€™s top dogs, but only just as our report from one of the RGS players explains.
One game that generated a lot of interest on twitter in the build up to the weekend was Bromsgrove v Warwick, given Warwickâ€™s draw with Millfield last weekend.
It finished 12-10 to Bromsgrove with the hosts scoring in the last play of the game to take the win, after a narrow defeat to Denstone last week it was the perfect response from Ben Fodenâ€™s old school. For Warwick it will have been a tough pill to swallow, but already this season we are seeing that they make it very, very hard for teams to break them down. After two such close matches it seems almost unjust that they are yet to register a win.
Bedfordâ€™s outstanding start to the season has rather unravelled in the in the last seven days, after scoring half a century against Oundle they then lost in midweek to Northampton School for Boys and then on Saturday they lost a second on the bounce, 24-17 away at Uppingham.
That made it two from two for Uppingham whose results suggest that they are a pretty decent side this year after a shaky season last year, despite the brilliance of Joss Linney.
Stamford backed up their resounding win over Stowe with a 15-7 victory against Oundle, while Stowe bounced back from that defeat to beat Oakham 15-6.
Haileybury got over that trouncing last weekend with a tidy 22-20 victory against Bedford Modern, while John Fisher beat former Schools Cup winners Campion 29-19.
If there was one score that really set the cat among the pigeons this week though it was Sherborne v Radley, not because of the result, Radley won, but the scoreline; 32-7.
These two sides were both excellent last year and this was a game that was expected to go down to the wire, that Radley won so convincingly will be a big blow to Sherborneâ€™s confidence, but for Radley it gives a clear indication that they are once again a side to really keep an eye on, particularly as it was their first game.
Daily Mail Trophy – Feature Competition Results:
Barnard Castle 48-22 Yarm
Millfield 36-20 RGS High Wycombe
Wellington College 22-15 Dulwich College
Bryanston 30-15 Marlborough
Feature Schools v Feature Schools Results:
Durham 25-24 RGS Newcastle
Uppingham 24-17 Bedford
Haileybury 22-20 Bedford Modern
Bromsgrove 12-10 Warwick
Stowe 10-6 Oakham
Stamford 15-7 Oundle
Sherborne 7-32 Radley
John Fisher 29-19 Campion
Other XV Feature Schools Results:
Ampleforth 18-26 Grammar School at Leeds
Kirkham Grammar School 52-15 Sandbach
Kingâ€™s Macclesfield 24-3 Manchester Grammar School
Malvern College 20-8 Prior Park
Ratcliffe 14-34 Princethorpe
Kingâ€™s Worcester 18-38 Solihull
Brighton College 17-12 Hurstpierpoint
Hampton 32-5 RGS Guildford
Harrow 5-51 Epsom College
Reeds 11-13 St Georgeâ€™s College
Royal Hospital School 5-21 Bishopâ€™s Stortford College
Sevenoaks 0-25 Cranbrook
St Paulâ€™s 12-17 St Benedicts
Tonbridge 44-5 Eastbourne
Whitgift 26-3 Bishops Wordsworth
Blundellâ€™s 40-3 Bristol Grammar School
Cheltenham College 14-24 Monmouth
Clifton 31-13 Kingâ€™s College Taunton
Colstonâ€™s 10-42 Dean Close