Well, what a start to the season this has been, here’s our review of the opening weekend:
The opening weekend of the school season certainly did not let us down, we have had a thrilling weekend with some stunning games around the country. There have been some big scorelines, high scoring games, and some incredibly close results:
Our ten featured games certainly lived up to expectations, with each of them producing a good storyline.
Abingdon v Berkhamsted was billed as a game between two dark horses of the season, and they certainly played like evenly matched teams, finishing up at 10-10 at the final whistle. It was a nervy and tight game over at Cranleigh too as they welcomed Brighton College. It was certainly a game for the purists, being decided exclusively by kicks in a low scoring and muddy affair that ended 6-3 in the visitors’ favour.
We predicted a tight game between Epsom College and St Paul’s but were proved dramatically wrong as Epsom College ran out 41-0 winners, with the game effectively over at half time, Epsom were able to rest some of their key men in the second half.
Over in Croydon there was real drama in John Fisher v Hampton as Hampton came back from 16-8 down to win the game 18-16, scoring the winning points with the very last kick of the game. There was less drama over in High Wycombe, but just as important a result as RGS High Wycombe repeated last season’s NatWest Cup heroics to beat Stowe 13-3.
We had flagged up in our preview that QEGS Wakefield were a side to keep a close eye on this year, and they more than vindicated that early praise with a stunning 46-0 victory over RGS Lancaster. It was a closer result over in Rutland though, where Stamford were looking to protect that unbeaten home record that has stood since 2010. Oundle were the opposition, and a side with as good a chance as any of halting that incredible record, however the hosts simply refuse to let that brilliant history making run be ended as they ground out an excellent 10-5 victory.
We then move on to three of the most anticipated games of the weekend, Warwick v Bromsgrove, Wellington College v Dulwich College, and Whitgift v Sedbergh.
Warwick v Bromsgrove saw two superb sides line up, a Warwick side full of U15 NatWest Cup winners, and a Bromsgrove side that are back to back U18 NatWest Cup winners. It was always going to be intriguing to see which side would come out on top, and youthful experience turned out to win out over the U18 history, with Warwick winning 15-7.
Wellington College are the reigning Daily Mail Trophy champions, while Dulwich College are the 2012, ’13, and ’14 U18 NatWest Cup winners. It was long been one of the closest and most anticipated early season games in the country, but this year Wellington stormed to a 26-0 victory, though it took until the second half for them to fire after a very rusty first half saw the two sides go in at 0-0. In the second half though Scotland U18 centre Rory McMichael took centre stage for Wellington as his side cruised to a solid victory.
Over in Whitgift it was a stunning game as the hosts took an 11-0 win over Sedbergh. Both picked up pre-season festival victories so this was a key indicator of where the strength truly lies this season, and at 11-0 people probably thought it would be with Whitgift. However the men in brown showed stunning resolve to storm back to win the game 14-11, a remarkable turnaround.
Around the Grounds
Elsewhere there were some superb performances, starting with the reigning Champions Trophy champions, Bedford, who beat Uppingham 47-3. Cheltenham College were equally impressive as they beat Malvern College 37-0.
Oakham demonstrated that their pre-season form was no flash in the pan as they backed it up with an excellent 17-5 victory away at Denstone College. We spoke in our preview about Felsted’s potential this season, but it was Harrow who laid down the marker with a superb 38-0 victory.
Things were much closer in Yorkshire, where Bradford Grammar School travelled to Hymers College. The sides shared forty-five points, with Bradford running out as 25-20 winners. King’s Worcester picked up a good 13-6 win over Solihull, while there was a thriller between Marlborough College and Bryanston. These two put on a real show, with Bryanston just sneaking it with an 18-17 victory.
Millfield got their season off to a fine start with a 29-19 victory over Canford, a victory that has been described as rusty, suggesting that this could be a very exciting side. Clifton College also look like a very exciting side this year, and went some way to proving that with a brilliant 18-10 victory away at Monmouth. New Hall were another of the sides that we gave good billing to in our preview, but it was instead The Perse who showed that they are on the up, winning 29-6.
Last year’s Daily Mail Trophy runners up were Kirkham Grammar School, who went through the season unbeaten. That run continues after they started the year with a 14-6 victory over Northampton School for Boys. There was a stunning result between St Ambrose College and Wilmslow High School on Saturday, St Ambrose were finalists in the NatWest Vase last year, suggesting a decent amount of firepower for this year with much of the side being L6th last year. However Wilmslow were the side on fire, hammering their opponents 53-0.
There was a huge win further south too, with St John’s Leatherhead confirming pre-season predictions about their good form with a stunning 40-3 victory over Wimbledon College, they are a side to keep an eye on. Back in Yorkshire there was a clash between 15th and 6th in last year’s Daily Mail Trophy as St Peter’s York hosted Woodhouse Grove. St Peter’s took the spoils with an 18-11 victory.
There were two games under the lights on Friday evening. The first took place at Reeds Weybridge RFC as St George’s College took on Reed’s. St George’s took the spoils with a 15-3 win, which you can see the match report from here: St George’s edge out Reed’s in exciting game.
There was an even bigger crowd up at Newcastle Falcons’ Kingston Park as Durham and RGS Newcastle played their annual derby at the stadium. Expectations were of a close game, but RGS dominated with a 36-3 victory, you can see the highlights of that game here: RGS sink Durham at Kingston Park.
You can see photos from the weekend’s rugby here: Schools Rugby Gallery, 10/9/16
Don’t forget that if you have any photos, reports, or videos from the weekend’s school rugby, please do send them into us via email (email@example.com ), Facebook (www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby ), or via Twitter (@FifteenRugbyXV).
Schools Rugby Results, Saturday 10th September:
(DMT – Daily Mail Trophy Fixture)
Focus On; Results:
Abingdon 10-10 Berkhamsted (DMT)
Cranleigh 3-6 Brighton College (DMT)
Epsom College 41-0 St Paul’s
John Fisher 16-18 Hampton (DMT)
RGS High Wycombe 13-3 Stowe (DMT)
RGS Lancaster 0-46 QEGS Wakefield (DMT)
Stamford 10-5 Oundle (DMT)
Warwick 15-7 Bromsgrove (DMT)
Wellington College 26-0 Dulwich College (DMT)
Whitgift 11-14 Sedbergh (DMT)
Altrincham GS 34-17 Cheadle Hulme
Barnard Castle 55-12 Yarm (DMT)
Bedford 47-3 Uppingham (DMT)
Bedford Modern 12-32 Haileybury (DMT)
Bell Baxter 15-19 Loretto
Blundell’s 32-26 Bristol GS (DMT)
Cheltenham College 37-0 Malvern College (DMT)
Chislehurst & Sidcup GS 13-33 City of London Freemen’s
Christ’s Hospital 12-22 Reigate Grammar
Cokethorpe 12-0 Churcher’s
Colfe’s 25-13 St Dunstan’s
Cooper’s Coborn 10-32 RGS Colchester
Cranbrook 13-7 Sevenoaks
Denstone College 5-17 Oakham (DMT)
Duke of York RMS 13-24 King’s Canterbury
Eastbourne College 0-22 Tonbridge (DMT)
Eltham College 36-14 Judd
Grammar School at Leeds 15-19 Ampleforth College (DMT)
Haberdashers’ 10-22 St Columba’s College
Halliard 18-5 KES Southampton
Harrow 38-0 Felsted
Hereford Cathedral 12-38 Plymouth College
Hurstpierpoint College 10-13 Seaford College (DMT)
Hymers College 20-25 Bradford GS (DMT)
KCS Wimbledon 22-0 Caterham
KES Birmingham 18-11 Wrekin
King’s Grantham 5-33 Loughborough
King’s Worcester 13-6 Solihull (DMT)
Kingswood 19-24 KES Bath
Langley Park 9-11 Skinners’
London Oratory 29-19 Glyn
Magdalen College 8-19 Bloxham
Marlborough College 17-18 Bryanston (DMT)
Manchester Grammar 8-7 King’s Macclesfield (DMT)
Merchiston Castle 29-7 George Watson’s
Millfield 29-19 Canford (DMT)
Monmouth 10-18 Clifton College (DMT)
New Hall 6-29 The Perse
Northampton SfB 6-14 Kirkham GS (DMT)
Norwich 22-15 The Leys
Nottingham HS 29-0 King Edward VI, Stratford
Old Swinford Hospital 11-20 Ellesmere College (DMT)
Oratory 17-0 Worth
Queen’s College Taunton 12-12 Downside
RGS Guildford 17-17 Portsmouth GS (DMT)
RGS Worcester 17-21 Dean Close
Royal Hospital School 16-20 Ipswich
Rugby 13-8 St Edward’s, Oxford
Sandbach 44-10 Stockport Grammar (DMT)
Sherborne 19-19 Bishop Wordsworth’s (DMT)
Shiplake College 3-10 Reading Blue Coat
St Ambrose College 0-53 Wilmslow HS (DMT)
Stewart’s Melville 50-7 Strathallan
St John’s Leatherhead 40-3 Wimbledon College (DMT)
St Peter’s York 18-11 Woodhouse Grove (DMT)
Trent College 38-13 Bishop Vesey’s GS
UCS 17-12 Tiffin
Wallington CGS 27-14 St Olave’s GS
Wisbech GS 14-10 Wymondham College
Wycliffe College 25-19 Wells Cathedral
*Eton College, Pangbourne College, Radley College – Triangular Pre-Season Festival
Friday 9th September
RGS Newcastle 36-3 Durham
St George’s College, Weybridge 15-3 Reed’s
Still to Come:
Bishop’s Stortford College v St Joseph’s College
Colston’s v Prior Park
Fettes College v Glenalmond
Merchant Taylors’ v St Albans
Pocklington v Ashville College (DMT)
Princethorpe College v King Henry VIII Coventry
QEH v Sir Thomas Rich’s