One of the most exciting midweek schedules of the season is upon us, featuring many of the top performing sides from across the country this season.
The excitement begins today with Colstonâ€™s v St Peterâ€™s Gloucester, Royal Hosptial School v Felsted, and Uppingham v Nottingham High School in the NatWest Cup before the attention turns to London Irishâ€™s base in Sunbury for Wellington College v Bryanston.
Wellington have been in better form this season, they have swept several quality sides away including the much-fancied Whitgift, whilst Bryanston have been a little more inconsistent.
However Bryanston are a side that are well stocked with top class players, including plenty of schoolboy internationals and both sides will be well aware that if Bryanston can click then they are capable of some special performances.
It is hard to look past some of Wellingtonâ€™s brilliant results though, beating Eton, Harrow, Whitgift, Marlborough and Dulwich in successive weeks is no mean feat, and they were deservedly ourÂ September Team of the Month.
On Wednesday there are a host of NatWest Cup fixtures as the third round truly begins, Wimbledon v Hampton is probably the most exciting looking fixture on the card but the likes of Oundle and holders Dulwich College are also in action.
Also on Wednesday is a fantastic benefit match between Kirkham Grammar School and Tonbridge. It is for the Graeme College Scholarship Foundation, which raises money to give children at the South African school the opportunity to come to Kirkham Grammar School.Â For more information about the Foundation, and more detail of the game please follow this link.
On the rugby side of things though Tonbridge will start the game as favourites after some excellent performances in recent weeks. Both sides have similar records this season and Kirkham actually won more games, the sense is thoughÂ that Tonbridge have faced some tougher opponents but Kirkham are not to be taken lightly.
Another special game on Wednesday is Cranleigh v Stowe with will be played at the HACâ€™s ground in central London. Cranleigh go into the game off the back of a narrow defeat to Tonbridge whilst Stoweâ€™s confidence is on the up after successive victories following their shaky start to the season. Cranleigh are still probably just favourites but it will be close.
Thursday looks exciting too with some very big and historic fixtures taking place. Cheltenham and Radley go head to head in the Jamie Waters memorial trophy. Cheltenham have been in decent form but defeat at the weekend allied to Radleyâ€™s excellent play this season gives the Oxfordshire side the slight edge despite being the away side.
Oakham have the pleasure of a trip to the home of the sport at Rugby School and both sides will go into this with confidence. Rugby have really picked up their form recently, whilst Oakham have been inconsistent but occasionally brilliant this season and they will believe that they can come away with a victory, something that would be doubly satisfying considering that local rivals Uppingham lost to Rugby a couple of weeks ago.
Magdalen College welcome St Edwardâ€™s Oxford on Thurday, Teddyâ€™s have been a little up and down this season but will be confident that they can secure victory at Magdalen.
Just in case Thursday was not big enough already, Eton College welcome Epsom College in yet another bumper fixture on this bumper midweek. Eton have had some stunning results at times this season but a 46-5 defeat to Wellington at the weekend will have hit them hard, whilst Epsom have been simply outstanding all year and will go into this expecting a big performance.
If all of that was not already good enough, there is a special treat in store on Friday as Whitgift make the trip up to Sedbergh. Sedbergh will be absolutely desperate to secure victory in this one, they have beaten (you might even say crushed) every side put before them this season and they will be determined to prove that they are not just one of the best sides in the North but that they are among the very top few schools in the entire country.
How Whitgift fare will be fascinating, they were touted as one of the very best around this season but successive defeats to Wellington and Warwick followed by a very narrow win against John Fisher have raised a few questions. The big question is whether that will have dented their confidence or simply doubled their desire so succeed, if it is the latter then Fridayâ€™s game could be the best of all this midweek.
Selected Midweek School Fixtures (Predictions in bold):
WellingtonÂ v Bryanston
Colstonâ€™sÂ v St Peterâ€™s Gloucester
UppinghamÂ v Nottingham High School (NatWest Cup)
Royal Hospital School vÂ Felsted
Kikrham Grammar School vÂ TonbridgeÂ (Benefit Match)
CranleighÂ v Stowe
Rugby vÂ Oakham
Cheltenham College vÂ Radley
Magdalen College vÂ St Edwardâ€™s Oxford
Eton College vÂ Epsom College
SedberghÂ v Whitgift