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2014 Daily Mail Trophy Roundup

With the final round of the Daily Mail Trophy being finished up on Saturday, the final standings are now confirmed.

As was already known, Wellington College were confirmed as champions, having won eleven of their twelve games. Only a draw with Dulwich College and a dramatic 37-34 loss to second placed Sedbergh stopped them from gaining an unbeaten record.

Last year, the tournaments inaugural year, there was some criticism at the end that the number of fixtures played carried to much weight as opposed to who those fixtures were against, this year that was tweaked with the bonus structure meaning that the higher a team finished in last year’s table the more bonus points a team got for playing them. Number of fixtures was therefore still rewarded, but the quality of those fixtures counted far more.

Wellington’s results, opposition, and style of play earned them many plaudits throughout the season as they climbed three places from last season to seal first place, showing remarkable consistency over the two years, as had Sedbergh, who finished runners up for the second year running with an impressive eleven wins from thirteen games.

It was a different story in third place though, where Kirkham Grammar School secured a brilliant unbeaten season, winning eleven from eleven. Last year they had finished back in 34th but climbed a remarkable 31 places to finish on the podium.

They were not the only ones to charge up the field and into the top ten. Abingdon climbed more places than any other school in the competition as they improved by 67 places on last year to finish in seventh, while Reed’s, who finished two places behind Abingdon last year, climbed to tenth place this year. Indeed Reed’s were extraoridanry, and were a fine example of the way the league was structured this year. They actually had the fourth best league points score but finished in tenth as the slightly lesser strength of some of their opponents denied them the all important bonus points for the merit points leaderboard.

Elsewhere in the Top 10 Monmouth climbed four places from 8th to 4th, a fine reward for a quite brilliant season that saw them win all of their nine matches, including victories over the likes of Millfield and the excellent Bromsgrove, who finished 6th in the league, up seven places from last year.

Epsom College finished 5th, down form 3rd last year but again another excellent example of consistency, while Grammar School at Leeds and Dulwich College reached 8th and 9th respectively having finished 19th and 21st last season.

Of course for every side that climbed into the Top 10 there had to be others that dropped out, none more strikingly so than Woodhouse Grove, the runaway champions last year dropped 35 places this year.

KCS Wimbledon suffered even more, dropping 49 places from 6th last year, while Solihull fell from 5th to 22nd. Millfield’s expert trophy hunting in other competitions caught up with them here as they slipped from 7th last year to 24th this, while Sir Thomas Rich’s dropped all the way to 46th form 9th in 2013.

King’s Macclesfield dropped 3 to thirteenth but will still feel that theirs was a pretty successful season overall.

Unfortunately for them, Magdalen College School suffered the biggest fall in the table this year, dropping a whopping 71 places from 17th to 88th.

There were four sides who avoided rising and falling altogether, as mentioned, Sedbergh finished 2nd for the 2nd year running, whiled RGS High Wycombe maintained their second place. Bristol Grammar School remained in 75th this year, as did KES Birmingham in 84th.

There were plenty of schools who will feel that this year has been a job well done, Lymm High School jumped from 70th to 17th, something that will surprise few who have seen their results, while Whitgift returned to something closer to satisfaction, jumping 32 spots to 33rd.

Stowe almost made it into the top 10, and given their season they perhaps deserved to, a rise form 45th to 11th will be satisfying though. Equally satisfied will be Sherborne and Hymers College who jumped from 53rd and 56th respectively to 15th and 16th following outstanding seasons.

Unfortunately three teams dropped out of the league this year, Merchant Taylors’ Northwood, who finished 85th in 2013, Haileybury, who finished 81st, and perhaps most poignantly, Rugby School, who had finished an impressive 15th last year.

On a more positive note, the league actually grew by eight teams, to 95, with Kingswood, Skinners’, Seaford College, Ellesmere College, Malvern College, Campion, Ampleforth College, Christ’s Hospital, Dame Allan’s, Eastbourne College, and St Peter’s Gloucester all joining.

Kingswood fared the best of all the newcomers, completing an unbeaten season and finishing in a brilliant 14th place in the debut year.

For the rest, it has been a second and highly popular year of the Daily Mail Trophy. The top ten in particular have been fantastic, but there are others whose performances have been excellent too.

Wellington College stole the show though, and how fitting that arguably the game of the year came between the competition’s two best teams, Wellington and Sedbergh.

Will they be up there again next year? Nobody can say, but what is for sure is that with such a brutal fixture list, if either school is winning regularly, they will be there or thereabouts.

What did you think of this year’s Daily Mail Trophy? Were the changes to the points system good? Did the right team win? Let us know via @FifteenRugbyXV or through the comment box below.

2014 Daily Mail Trophy Table (Top 10)

Pos

School

P

W

D

L

League Pts

Merit Pts

1

Wellington College (C)

13

11

1

1

55

7.23

2

Sedbergh

13

11

0

2

55

6.73

3

Kirkham Grammar School

11

11

0

0

53

6.62

4

Monmouth

9

9

0

0

40

6.24

5

Epsom College

9

8

0

1

40

6.04

6

Bromsgrove

11

9

0

2

44

5.90

7

Abingdon

9

7

0

2

34

5.88

8

Grammar School at Leeds

9

8

0

1

39

5.83

9

Dulwich College

12

8

1

3

37

5.78

10

Reeds’

11

10

0

1

50

5.75

*Merit Points were calculated by calculating taking the average number of league points per game (4 for a win, 2 for a draw, bonus point for 4 tries or more or defeat by less than 7 points), and adding bonus points of 0.3, 0.2, 0.1, or 0 for each opponent played depending on their position in the 2013 table.

2013:

1 – Woodhouse Grove

2 – Sedbergh

3 – Epsom College

4 – Wellington College

5 – Solihull

6 – KCS Wimbledon

7 – Millfield

8 – Monmouth

9 – Sir Thomas Rich’s

10 – King’s Macclesfield

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