Final weekend of pre-season sees Stowe and Hampton pick up silverware

It was a busy weekend of pre-season friendlies and festivals, with a huge number of schools all taking the opportunity to get one more game in ahead of the new season.

Depsite many players being absent due to the U18 and U16 Academy Festivals, the turnout and standard across the country was still admirably high by all accounts – particularly as it is still officially pre season.

Tynedale

Stowe retained their 2013 Tynedale Festival crown this weekend, giving them the perfect start to the new schools rugby season.

Having topped a group that included RGS Newcastle, Yarm, and Hymers College, Stowe were to meet St Paul’s in the final after the Barnes based side has topped a tricky pool of their own, beating Ampleforth, Durham, and Blundell’s.

Stowe were relatively untroubled though and won 14-0, capping almost the perfect start to the year.

It would truly have been the perfect possible start had their U15s just been able to go one step further. They lost 17-7 to Durham School in the U15 final, but the performances of both Stowe sides suggest that they will be strong not just this season but for a good few seasons yet.

RGS Newcastle mopped up third place after beating Group B runners up Ampleforth 12-5 in their play off, while over in the Plate competition St Paul’s managed to secure some silverware to make up for the disappointment of the Cup, their second XV dominated that particular battle.

Results:

Final: Stowe 14-0 St Paul’s

3rd/4th Play Off: RGS Newcastle 12-5 Ampleforth College

U15 Final: Durham 17-7 Stowe

2014 Tynedale Festival Group A

Team

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Stowe

3

0

0

12

RGS Newcastle

2

0

1

8

Yarm

1

0

2

4

Hymers College

0

0

3

0

2014 Tynedale Festival Group B

Team

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

St Paul’s

3

0

0

12

Ampleforth College

2

0

1

8

Durham

0

1

2

2

Blundell’s

0

1

2

2

President’s Cup

Over in Esher an incredibly strong field assembled for the annual President’s Cup but surely nobody could have predicted the drama that was to unfold as Hampton School landed an extra time drop goal to beat AASE side Henley College in the final.

It was an impressive result for Hampton, who had to get past Skinners’, St Benedict’s, and Brighton College just to get out of the group. Not that it was much easier for Henley College, they had to beat Caterham, John Fisher, and Whitigft, who play Sedbergh on Saturday and are under a touch of pressure having lost to local rivals John Fisher at Esher while Sedbergh were beating Myerscough College and Loretto.

Results:

Final: Hampton 8-5 Henley College

3rd/4th Play Off: St Benedict’s 10-5 John Fisher

Brentwood Festival:

Abingdon built on a promising season last year with a strong start to this year, winning the Brentwood festival after beating The Leys, last year’s NatWest Cup upset kings, Campion, and the hosts themselves, Brentwood School.

Elsewhere

There were plenty of one off games to take in over the weekend too. On Friday Sir Thomas Rich’s beat Bishop’s Wordsworth 15-14, proving that they are still a good side despite having lost the services of last year’s England U18 captain, Sam Underhill.

Christ’s Hospital almost hit a half century against Pullborough RGS, while Cokethorpe were similarly ruthless against CWellingborough.

Sutton Valence beat King’s Rochester 31-10, while Monmouth and Seaford played arguably the tightest game of the weekend’s individual fixtures, with Seaford winning 27-22.

Sedbergh looked in good form ahead of their game with Whitgift, beating both Myerscough College and Loretto, while Uppingham are shaping up well too, they beat Loughborough Grammar School 25-19 on Sunday.

King’s Macclesfield Festival

Twitter was alive with praise on Saturday for the King’s Macclesfield Festival, which saw the hosts, King’s Macclesfield, and the much-fancied Grammar School at Leeds both come away with three wins and a draw.

Berkhamsted showed their ability too, coming away with victories of KES Bath, RGS Lancaster, and Solihull (one of last year’s star sides), their only defeat came to Grammar School at Leeds.

It was certainly a competitive weekend up and down the country but now the serious rugby begins, you can see our first midweek preview of the season here (midweek preview), before we head into what is going to be a spectacular opening weekend of the season with some brilliant fixtures. As we saw last year, opening weekend can often produce startling results so it will be one to keep an eye on for sure!

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