The penultimate weekend of the term certainly lived up to expectations, with some fantastic displays from all corners.
With many teams playing their final game of the season, there was a lot of pride on display as teams and players tried to end their season, and in some cases their schools rugby careers, on a high.
Some performances stood out particularly though, and from those we have picked out Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend, a tough selection, as ever.
Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend
A 7-0 win may not seem particularly impressive, but it was. In horrible conditions, and against a very good Stowe side, any sort of win was always going to be impressive, but when you also throw in the fact that a win would complete an unbeaten season for Bedford, as well as keeping them in the hunt for the Daily Mail Trophy title, the pressure really was on.
They successfully got that win, and indeed the lead in the Trophy table after Wellington College lost to St Paul’s, meaning that if results go their way from now, Bedford could win it.
More importantly though, this outstanding rugby team secured a most brilliant of unbeaten seasons. A brilliant achievement.
Denstone have somewhat dipped under the radar a little this season, despite the fact that they are a very decent side indeed. They faced another good side this weekend though in King’s Macclesfield, and looked in real trouble at one point as they were 24 points down.
Coming back from 24 points down to win 31-29 is impressive in any case, however it is the manner in which they did so that gets them into this weekend’s Top 5, for sheer drama if nothing else.
In the last play of the game they scored a try to steal the game away from a King’s Macclesfield side who must have believed that they had the game in the bag. A stunning finish to a stunning term.
There was a lot of emotion surrounding Dulwich College’s game at Epsom College on Saturday, it was legendary coach Sam Howard’s last ever game in charge of the school. He moves to Eltham College after Christmas.
Howard has brought one of the greatest periods of schools rugby success to Dulwich in recent times, and he and his sides have made a habit of pulling out top performances against top sides. Indeed their preparation, planning, and execution of those plans against the very best sides have been a hallmark of his time there.
It was therefore a fitting, and highly impressive, way to end on Saturday as they defeated the Champions Trophy finalists by a commanding 27-3 scoreline. Eltham College, one suspects, are going to be a side to keep an eye on over the next few years.
For the second weekend in a row, Eastbourne College make our Top 5. It is almost unbelievable how under the radar their season has been. They have only lost once, to the outstanding Tonbridge, it is quite a brilliant effort.
Last weekend they beat Brighton College, a highly impressive result, and this weekend they backed it up to ensure that that Tonbridge game was their only defeat of the season as they beat a very good St John’s Leatherhead side 20-14. That’s a St John’s side, remember, that have actually beaten Tonbridge this year.
Sometimes schools don’t quite get the credit they deserve, and that has certainly been the case this year with Eastbourne, but with their two Top 5 efforts in a row now, hopefully they are feeling some of the recognition and respect that they have earned.
If Bedford and Kirkham Grammar School are not thanking St Paul’s today, they should be. The South West London side have kept both of those teams in the hunt for the Daily Mail Trophy after they pulled a stunning victory over Wellington College out of the hat.
St Paul’s are a good side, make no mistake. Saturday’s win moved them into the top 10 in the Daily Mail Trophy, but even they would not have put themselves as favourites against Wellington. Even less so when they were reduced to 14 men for the bulk of the second half though.
Win they did though, a quite brilliant 12-7 effort. If was not pretty, but it did not need to be, it was brave, gutsy, and determined, and for all of those reasons they make this week’s Top 5. Plus they have kept the competition alive right to the final whistle of the term. We could not ask for more.
Do you agree with our Top 5? Let us know what you think on @FifteenRugbyXV