After a stunning weekend of schools rugby, the midweek action takes over, and what a week of rugby it is set to be.
There are games every day of the week, and not just any old games, big games. The NatWest Cup and Vase both see action, as does the Champions Trophy, while a number of touring teams are also in action.
Monday is a reasonably quiet day, but an important one in the NatWest Vase as Sevenoaks were given a walkover by Tonbridge Wells Grammar School. Meanwhile KES Southampton beat St Brendan’s 27-7.
Things got busier on Tuesday, and the highlight was surely the start of the Champions Trophy, now falling under the umbrella of the NatWest competitions. Most first round matches take place next week, but Monmouth and Radley College kicked things off on Tuesday in east Wales. The game was a tight and tense one, when are they ever not in this wonderful competition, but Monmouth were the ones to seal a place in the second round with a 21-13 victory.
There was action for Haileybury and Beaumont in the County Cup, with Haileybury winning 59-8, their second victory in four days after they beat Felsted on Saturday. However Felsted bounced back on Tuesday with a superb 27-12 win over King’s Canterbury, which included a simply outstanding opening quarter of the game. You can see our report from that game here: Felsted v King’s Canterbury.
Elsewhere there was a good win for Cranleigh in their annual friendly game with Saint Cecilia’s, Cranleigh winning 40-3. Things were much closer at Leicester Tigers’ training ground, Oval Park, where Denstone College just edged out Langley 16-14.
There were also some tour games taking place on Tuesday, with Chilean side Craighouse continuing their UK tour with a trip to Downside, where once again they showed their class to secure an excellent 36-13 victory. Leicester Grammar had better fortune against St John’s, the side on tour from Buenos Aires, they won in fine style, 32-17.
Wednesday was a huge day on the school calendar, and one of the highlights was the Champions Trophy fixture between Dulwich College and Eton College it ended as a 17-17 draw, with Eton progressing on try count, but once again it showed just how dramatic the Champions Trophy seems to be. You can see our report here: Dulwich College v Eton College.
Ampleforth College were back to winning ways after a tough weekend with a 13-10 win over Ripon Grammar, while Aylesbury Grammar secured an excellent 31-10 win over Dr Challoner’s. Bloxham v Cokethorpe was an excellent and physical contest with Bloxham just overpowering their opponents to win 29-13.
The evening kick off saw Hampton and Seaford College meet at Cobham RFC, once again these to put on a real show, with Hampton just edging it 17-15. It was similarly close in the NatWest Cup fixture between KCS Wimbledon and UCS, with KCS just stealing it by three points, 20-17. The other NatWest Cup game saw Reading Blue Coat in highly impressive form against Lord Wandsworth College, winning 17-7.
The Cheltenham derby saw Cheltenham College put their neighbours Pate’s Grammar to the sword with a stunning 59-11 victory, Kirkham Grammar were once again equally impressive with a 43-14 win over Queen Ethelburga’s. Warm were also in high scoring form, beating Harrogate Grammar 47-7.
Over in Henley it was a strong 30-0 win for Pangbourne College in their derby with Shiplake College, Plymouth College were meanwhile still in excellent form with a 48-11 win over Mount Kelly, while Reigate Grammar were equally impressive in beating Glyn 38-7.
Merchant Taylors’ won their derby against Watford Grammar 24-6, while KES Stratford beat KES Birmingham 24-22, it was even tighter for Welbeck, who beat Nottingham High School 20-19. Sir Thomas Rich’s showed their strength with a 26-10 win over RGS Worcester, while Austin Friars made the trip to Scotland and beat Glasgow High School 5-0.
There are still a few games to come through from Wednesday, including NatWest Cup games between Duke of York RMS and Judd, and Wrekin College and Adams Grammar.
On Thursday the big fixtures just keep on coming. There are two more tour games, with Craighouse this time travelling to take on a good Canford side, while St John’s are at Norwich.
The NatWest Cup sees action in the form of Trinity v Colfe’s, while in the Vase Wymondham College make the trip to Thomas Mills’.
The Rutland derby will be one of the highlights of the day, with Oakham, who on Saturday ended Stamford’s 6 year unbeaten home run, travelling to their closest rivals Uppingham for what is always an exciting and hostile fixture.
The derby theme of the week continues with Taunton School hosting Queen’s College Taunton. Another huge local(ish) game sees Bryanston host Sherborne. These two have produced plenty of top rugby players in recent years, giving the Bath Academy a healthy production line, and this ought to be a cracking game.
Elsewhere Marlborough College v St Edward’s Oxford ought to be a brilliant game of rugby, as should Rugby School v Trent College, another game that rarely disappoints.
There is just the one game on Friday, but it is an absolute cracker as one of the most successful sides in Wales take on one of the most successful sides in England. It is Coleg Sir Gar v Millfield, a match that is always spectacular both for its skill and its intensity.
There are few finer games to end the week on! All in all it should be superb week of schools rugby as the season really shifts into gear.
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Schools Rugby Midweek Fixtures (predictions in bold):
Monday 19th September
Tonbridge Wells GS v Sevenoaks (NatWest Vase) – W/O Sevenoaks
KES Southampton 27-7 St Brendan’s
Tuesday 20th September
Cranleigh 40-3 Saint Cecilia’s
Denstone College 16-14 Langley
Downside 13-36 Craighouse (Chile)
Felsted 27-12 King’s Canterbury
Haileybury 59-8 Beaumont (County Cup)
Leicester GS 32-17 St John’s (Argentina)
Monmouth 21-13 Radley College (Champions Trophy)
Wednesday 21st September
Ampleforth College 13-10 Ripon GS
Aylesbury GS 31-10 Dr Challoner’s
Bloxham 29-13 Cokethorpe
Dulwich College 17-17 Eton College (Champions Trophy) – Eton on try count
Glasgow HS 0-5 Austin Friars
Glyn 7-38 Reigate GS
Hampton 17-15 Seaford College (19.30)
Harrogate GS 7-47 Yarm
KCS Wimbledon 20-17 UCS (NatWest Cup)
KES Birmingham 22-24 KES Stratford
Kirkham GS 43-14 Queen Ethelburga’s
Merchant Taylors’ 24-6 Watford GS
Mount Kelly 11-48 Plymouth College
Pangbourne College 30-0 Shiplake College
Pate’s GS 11-59 Cheltenham College
Reading Blue Coat 17-7 Lord Wandsworth College (NatWest Cup)
RGS Worcester 10-26 Sir Thomas Rich’s
Welbeck 19-20 Nottingham HS
Thursday 22nd September
Bryanston 7-27 Sherborne
Canford 12-27 Craighouse (Chile)
Dean Close 53-0 Crypt
Marlborough College 7-33 St Edward’s, Oxford
Norwich 53-21 St John’s (Argentina)
Rugby 44-21 Trent College
Taunton 14-15 Queen’s College, Taunton
Uppingham 3-55 Oakham
Friday 23rd September
Coleg Sir Gar v Millfield
Still to Come:
Christ’s Hospital v The Weald
Duke of York RMS v Judd (NatWest Cup)
Maidstone GS v Simon Langton
Silcoates v Worksop College
Thomas Mills v Wymondham College (NatWest Vase)
Wrekin College v Adams GS (NatWest Cup)