Cranleigh have been voted as your School Team of the Term for the 2016 Michaelmas Term.
They secured 19% of the vote with a total of 1,927 votes, ahead of Rugby School on 1,763, and Brighton College on 1,415.
Their votes came as a result of a superb season that has seen them win the prestigious St Joseph’s Festival after a dramatic final against Brighton College. It was just the second time that Cranleigh had entered the tournament, yet they played like Festival veterans.
It also served to make them the holders of two of the most prestigious titles in schools rugby at the same time, for the are also the current HSBC Rosslyn Park National School 7s Champions, having won the 2016 tournament.
Their season record was an excellent one, having only lost twice, to Wellington College and Brighton College, who were both also on the School Team of the Term shortlist.
Rugby School came in second with 17%of the vote following a brilliant unbeaten season, their first since 1978. Brighton College, meanwhile, were in third with 14% following their own unbeaten season that saw them get all the way to that St Joseph’s Final, where they only missed out as a result of Cranleigh having scored the first try in their 10-10 draw.
Two other sides secured over 1,000 votes. Wellington College secured 13% of the vote with 1,318 votes for fourth place. Their season was an impressive one as they fell to just one defeat and secured a remarkable third Daily Mail Trophy title in a row. Tonbridge School finished in fifth, also with 13% but slightly fewer actual votes at 1,297 as their NatWest Champions Trophy triumph saw them gather plenty of support.
In all well over 10,000 votes were cast, giving the winners a real sense of popular support.
Below that Top 5, AASE winners Exeter College finished in sixth, with St Peter’s York behind them in 7th, while Feslted finished up in eighth. Perhaps the biggest surprise in the vote was that the unbeaten Kirkham Grammar School, arguably one of the best teams in the country after yet another unbeaten season, finished in ninth with just 359 votes, ahead of Harrow who rounded things off in tenth.
‘Alternative School Team of the Term’
When announcing the shortlist for the main award, we also said that we would be selecting an ‘emerging’ school team of the term after the number of nominations for the main award threw up some interesting questions and proposals about other teams that deserved recognition.
We have slightly changed that title to ‘alternative’, as emerging was a potentially misleading term particularly given that some of the options were definitely not emerging.
A number of schools impressed us, but those who we felt deserved special recognition were Hayes School in London, whose rugby has seen a dramatic rise this year, Manchester Grammar also impressed, as did Silcoates and a number of others.
Our choice for ‘Alternative School Team of the Season’ though was KES Bath, who went unbeaten through the term, an outstanding return for a school whose rugby is most definitely on the up.
School Team of the Term
The final word must go to Cranleigh though, voted as your school team of the term. Their win was an impressive one, and with so many votes cast across the board, to secure nearly a fifth of them was a strong showing, reflecting what has been a tremendous season.
The question for them now is can they defend their Rosslyn Park title and possibly compete for the full School Team of the Season award at the end of the school year?