Some schools might fear a bit of a downturn after an unbeaten season, after all, it canâ€™t get better. Not so for Epsom College, they still look like a side that will frighten the life out of the very best.
They have some players that can only be described as outstanding, particularly their back row trio â€“ though the entire pack is something of a juggernaut.
They were always favourites in this Schools Champions Trophy tie against Bishopâ€™s Stortford High School, but it is unlikely that many would have foreseen quite such a comfortable victory as a 48-0 one.
It was well deserved though, and evenly split, the score was 24-0 at the break. Perhaps what was most impressive though was that Epsom stuck to their gameplan throughout, using their big pack to hit around the fringes, playing off nine and ten. Several sides would have chucked all of that away as soon as the game was safe, but not Epsom, they know there are bigger things to come in this competition.
In fairness to Bishopâ€™s Stortford, they actually had some very nice spells of rugby. They saw an awful lot of ball and did enough with it to put Epsom under enough pressure to cause up and coming referee, and Harlequins scrum-half, Karl Dickson to penalise them for breaching the offside line on more than a few occasions.
The problem for Bishopâ€™s Stortford was that they simply could not compete with the physicality of Epsom College, in particular that of captain Archie White and his back row pal George Mount. Mount in particular became a complete nuisance, for all of the right reasons, as the game reached its final stages.
Mount was part of perhaps the try of the game, a real beauty that involved both props. It started with a dazzling break from loosehead Aiden Smith, including two outrageous sidesteps, before he offloaded and the ball eventually found its was to Mount.
Mount powered forward and looked for all the world like he was going to score, but for some wonderful cover tackling fro the Bishopâ€™s Stortford High School defence.
The bruising openside knew his bearings though and made sure to let the ball pop up as he went to ground, allowing tighthead Ross Crabtree to gather the ball and then drive over the line. A wonderful piece of support play from the front row forward, who had had to cover half the length of the pitch just to be there.
It was a real snapshot of how they had played, with their big men working hard both in attack and in defence, playing with a power and pace that the opposition could not live with.
Only in the final few minutes did Epsom College allow themselves to indulge a little, if you can call a determination to keep the Bishopâ€™s Stortford score at 0 and doing so via an increasingly competitive succession of big hits an indulgence.
It was a superb victory but things will get tougher for the South West London side. Alongside them the likes of Barnard Castle, Grammar School at Leeds, Marlborough, Oakham, Millfield, Tonbridge, Woodhouse Grove and many others of a similar stature await.
Round two is going to get very, very interesting and Epsom College have made a big, big statement.
Full Time: Epsom College 48-0 Bishopâ€™s Stortford High School
For photos of the game, please head to our Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby donâ€™t forget to like & share!
1 Aidan SmithÂ 2 Alex ToddÂ 3 Ross CrabtreeÂ 4 Jack GriffinÂ 5 Jack BrookÂ 6 James HadleyÂ 7 George MountÂ 8 Archie White(c);Â 9 Niall SaundersÂ 10 Christopher CodyÂ 11 Harry OosterwykÂ 12 Sebastian MannÂ 13 William KibblewhiteÂ 14 Peter O’BrienÂ 15 William Joyce.
Replacements:Â 16 James OwensÂ 17 Connor NorrisÂ 18 Jamie AndersonÂ 19 Morgan SavillÂ 20 Jamie BarrÂ 21 Tristan BartlettÂ 22 Isaac BraithwaiteÂ 23 Jamie Palmer.