This weekend saw the final round of pre-season school fixtures take place, with a number of pre-season festivals dominating the fixture card.
One of the most prestigious of all is the Esher RFC President’s Cup, a knockout tournament as opposed to the festival format that most of the weekend followed.
Whitgift were the reigning champions and they went back to back with a 12-5 victory over Hampton, having beaten St Benedict’s and Trinity in their group. Hampton, meanwhile, had overcome John Fisher and Eltham College.
Haileybury were also in form, going unbeaten at the Merchant Taylors’ Festival, which featured, among others, Hayes, St John’s Leatherhead, Seaford College, Campion, and Aylesbury Grammar School.
There was silverware for Stamford, they beat Northampton School for boys in the final of the Wisbech Grammar School pre season festival.
Elsewhere there were big names in action at Kingswood, with Bryanston, Downside, and Sir Thomas Rich’s all in attendance, so to KCS Wimbledon, with Sevenoaks and Reigate Grammar among those making the trip.
Sedbergh hosting a triangular with themselves, Stewart’s Melville, and Gosforth Academy, and there look to be positive signs for the men in brown for the season ahead as they came away with two wins from two.
One of the biggest festivals of the weekend was held at King’s Macclesfield, with twenty schools in attendance. Kirkham Grammar were arguably the biggest side in attendance, based on the form of the last few years, and once again look ominous. Their 1st XV defeated QEGS Wakefield and Solihull, with the second string given run outs against Rydal Penrhos and Reed’s. They look in good shape ahead of a tough season opener against Llandovery College.
St Albans hosted a huge Festival that drew in schools such as Judd and New Hall, while RGS Guildford had the likes of Tonbridge and Berkhamsted in attendance for a high quality competition.
The South Coast King’s competition, held at KES Southampton was up there with King’s Macclesfield as one of the biggest of the weekend. Dean Close were among the sides to put in some impressive performances and could be a side to keep an eye on as the year progresses.
Alongside the big Festivals and Tournaments there were also plenty of one off training games, with Felsted v Dulwich College and Marlborough College v Colston’s just some of those fixtures, indeed Marlborough v Colston’s also included a big joint training session beforehand.
In more competitive fixtures Bromsgrove beat KES Stratford 30-0, though it was still very much a warm up game, with no kicks being taken in the game.
King’s Grantham opened their account with a brilliant 60-0 win over Nottingham High School, while West Buckland were 34-17 victors over Monkton Combe.
RGS Newcastle were involved in a very much full on game against George Watson’s, and it turned out to be a hugely competitive game, with RGS running out narrow 19-17 winners.
Arguably the standout result of the day though came at Wellington College, were the hosts put a staggering 51 points past an always tough to beat RGS High Wycombe, winning 51-19 and arguably putting out the biggest message of the weekend as they signalled their intent for yet another season of success.
With the final warm ups out of the way, attention now turns to the official start of the school season, with a few midweek fixtures on the calendar before the big start of the season on Saturday. There will be some huge fixtures taking place, including RGS Newcastle v Durham at Newcastle Falcons’ Kingston Park, 2015 and 2016 Schools Cup winners, Bromsgrove, v 2017 winners, Warwick, the finalists of Rosslyn Park and the St Joseph’s Festival meeting the winners of both, Brighton College and Cranleigh, and the classic season opener between Wellington College and Dulwich College.
We can’t wait to get started!
You can see a gallery of the weekend’s school rugby here: Saturday 2nd September/Sunday 3rd September Schools Rugby Photos.
As always, if you have any videos, photos, or reports from the weekend’s rugby, please feel free to send them in via Twitter (@FifteenRugbyXV), Facebook (www.facebook.com/FifteenRugby), Instagram(@fifteenrugbyxv), or through email (firstname.lastname@example.org)