What a weekend of schools rugby that was! There were some quite unbelievable scorelines coming through all day on Saturday, while our predictions were being widely blown apart.
Picking just five teams for our weekly Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend piece has been a nightmare. With so many impressive performances, how can one possibly narrow it down to just five?
Nevertheless, we have given it a go. As ever, let us know what you think on @FifteenRugbyXV, email@example.com or on www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby – you can also comment in the space available at the foot of this article.
Top 5 Teams of the Weekend:
Out of over 150 entries for our prediction competition over the weekend, less than ten backed Ampleforth College to beat Grammar School at Leeds, who reached last yearâ€™s Champions Trophy final.
That Ampleforth won by a 52-0 scoreline was therefore as unexpected as it was brilliant and staggering. It was just one of a number of results that left jaws dropping all around the country, not least here at Fifteen Rugby as we saw the scores come in. Ampleforth have certainly announced themselves as a team to look out for this year.
Bedford beating Uppingham was more predictable, it was what we expected and what most of you did too. Given that these two are usually on a reasonably even playing field though, it was expected to be relatively close, if ultimately a decent Bedford win.
What nobody could possibly have predicted was an 82-12 Bedford victory, especially away from home. It is, quite simply, a breathtaking margin of victory. Especially having, unofficially, lost to Stowe in their final training game last week, to bounce back quite so stupendously is brilliant.
Bradford Grammar School
If Bedfordâ€™s win was impressive, how about Bradford Grammar Schoolâ€™s 85-0, yes 85-0, victory over Hymers College. The start of a new term makes things somewhat unpredictable, admittedly, but last year Hymers had one of their best seasons, while Bradford were showing plenty of signs of going in the right direction, but none that suggested they could utterly decimate their local rivals.
Indeed we even predicted a Hymers victory. How very, very wrong we were.
It is truly a stunning victory, one that you would imagine will be celebrated for a long time at Bradford Grammar School, and rightly so.
The list of impressive performances and results goes on, and we have not even got past B in the alphabet yetâ€¦
Bromsgrove were NatWest Cup winners last year, and are expected to be good again this year. Warwickâ€™s 1st XV is made up of two set of U15 NatWest Cup winners. They are expected to be good too. This was expected to be close, Wariwck beat Dulwich College, more of them later, last week after all.
It was anything but close. Bromsgrove won by a stunning 54-0 margin. Warwick were, admittedly, very much understrength, yet 54-0 is just not a scoreline that was even on the cards remotely ahead of this one. In a weekend of scorelines to make you double check, this was right up there. Outstanding from Bromsgrove.
Finally to a result that, at least in numbers, seems to have played according to the usual rugby script, with Dulwich College beating Wellington College 27-12.
Read that again though, Dulwich College beating Wellington College 27-12. Wellington College with their six internationals, losing to a Dulwich side that nobody was expecting to win. This is as impressive a result as any of those huge scorelines above.
Time and time again over the last few years, Dulwich have shown that they simply cannot be written out of any game or competition. Their discipline, organisation, and most of all their spirit, is always as good or better than anyone else on the circuit. Add to this result the fact that they were also bouncing back from a defeat (albeit influenced by uncontested scrums) to Warwick the week before, and this result just keeps giving more reasons to be impressed.
In five yearâ€™s, Dulwich have lost to Wellington just once. How many schools out there can say that?
Such was the sheer amount of impressive results and performances this weekend that it seems unfair to finish this column just mentioning those five above who have made our Top 5. Mentions must be given to Cranleigh, Reigate, Sedbergh, Tonbridge, and Haileybury. All of whom either secured highly impressive victories against what should have been tough opposition, or racked up scores that were just about as stunning as those listed in our top 5.
What more could they have done to get into our top 5 this week? Not a lot, in all honesty, picked another week in which to perform so well is the only honest answer available. This was an exceptional week, and if it is a sign of things to come, this is going to be a very high scoring, and highly unpredictable year of schools rugby!
By Angus Savage