A brilliant opening day of the 31st Annual St Joseph’s Festival went down to the wire in a couple of groups, none more so than in Group 3.
Hampton, Millfield, and QEGS Wakefield all finished level on points in Group 3, with Millfield beating QEGS and Hurstpierpoint College, Hampton beating Millfield and Hurstpierpoint, and QEGS beating Hampton and Hurstpierpoint.
That meant that the group would go down to try count, something that worked in the favour of the free-scoring Millfield, whose twelve tries secured top spot in the Group for them, sending them into Group B in tomorrow’s groups for the De La Salle Trophy.
Behind them though it could not have been tighter. Just a try separated Hampton and QEGS Wakefield, with Hampton sealing that all-important second place, and therefore a place in Group A for tomorrow’s De La Salle Trophy groups. QEGS’ nine tries to Hampton’s ten meant that the Wakefield men will head into the Plate tomorrow, though after such an impressive set of performances today they will do so as favourites for that particular competition.
Home side St Joseph’s College topped Group 4, beating first Portsmouth Grammar, then followed by St Peter’s Gloucester, and then a tense and exciting final game against Denstone College. Both St Joseph’s and Denstone were already guaranteed to progress but this game would decide which side would progress in that key top seed spot.
St Joseph’s, inspired by the huge home support, secured the win, beating a strong Denstone side 10-3. It put the hosts into Group B in tomorrow’s De La Salle Trophy groups, where they will be alongside the Group 3 winners, Millfield.
Joining the two of them are Merchiston Castle and RGS Newcastle, who finished second in Groups 1 and 2 respectively.
Merchiston finished behind Brighton College in Group 1, a group that panned out to be one of the simpler ones. Brighton and Merchiston won their opening two games, against Eltham College and John Fisher, leaving them with a bit of a free hit against each other in the final game, with both fielding plenty of their wider squad, Brighton winning 7-0. Both sides look as though they could be real contenders on Sunday for the De La Salle Trophy, with Brighton in particular looking very good. Their full back, Scotland U18 international Jon Searle, looks an early Player of the Tournament contender.
Over in Group 2 things were a little tighter, though ultimately without too much bother. Dulwich College progressed in top spot with three wins from three, although had they not beaten RGS High Wycombe in their final game it could have ended in a similar scenario to Group 3. RGS Newcastle secured second place with their wins over fellow Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, and Welsh side Whitchurch High School.
Following today’s games, the tournament again takes place in Group format, with two Cup groups and two Plate groups. The top two from each of today’s groups are in the Cup groups, the bottom two in the Plate groups. Following the conclusion of those groups, the winners of each Cup group meet in the De La Salle Trophy final, and the winners of the two Plate groups meet in the Plate final.
Cup Group A features Brighton College, Dulwich College, Hampton, and Denstone College. It looks a brutal group, featuring last year’s finalists, Brighton, the 2015 champions and 2017 Surrey 7s champions, Hampton, and two very strong sides in Dulwich College and Denstone College.
Cup Group B sees Millfield, the most successful side in the tournaments history, and the hosts, St Joseph’s College, as the top seeds, with Merchiston Castle and RGS Newcastle joining them. Once again it looks a fiercely tough group, and across each of the two groups, picking a winner looks nightmarish.
In the Plate, Group W consists of Eltham College, RGS High Wycombe, Hurstpierpoint College, and Portsmouth Grammar School, while Plate Group W is made up of St Peter’s Gloucester, Portsmouth Grammar School, former Cup winners, John Fisher, and QEGS Wakefield, who will surely be hurting from being knocked out today and must start the Plate as the favourites.
Whatever happens, across both tournaments we should be assured of some fantastic and exciting rugby. If recent years are anything to go by, we are guaranteed plenty of drama tomorrow, for sure.
2017 St Joseph’s Festival Day 1 Standings & Results – Day 2 Groups & Fixtures
|St Joseph’s Festival Group 1 Final Standings|
|St Joseph’s Festival Group 2 Final Standings|
|3||RGS High Wycombe||1||0||2||3|
|4||Whitchurch High School||0||0||3||2|
|St Joseph’s Festival Group 3 Final Standings|
|St Joseph’s Festival Group 4 Final Standings|
|1||St Joseph’s College||3||0||0||6|
|3||St Peter’s, Gloucester||1||0||2||2|
|4||Portsmouth Grammar School||0||0||3||0|
|2017 St Joseph’s Festival – Day 1 Groups|
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3||Group 4|
|Brighton College||RGS High Wycombe||Millfield||St Joseph’s College|
|Merchiston Castle School||Dulwich College||Hampton||Denstone College|
|John Fisher||RGS Newcastle||QEGS Wakefield||St Peter’s School, Gloucester|
|Eltham College||Whitchurch High School||Hurstpierpoint College||Portsmouth Grammar School|
|St Joseph’s Festival – Day 1 Results|
|Pitch 1||Time||Pitch 2|
|Brighton College 19-5 Eltham College||09.00||John Fisher 13-18 Merchiston Castle|
|RGS High Wycombe 0-13 RGS Newcastle||09.40||Dulwich College 15-0 Whitchurch High School|
|Hurstpierpoint College 14-31 Millfield||10.20||Hampton 12-21 QEGS Wakefield|
|St Joseph’s College 10-3 Portsmouth Grammar School||11.00||Denstone College 15-0 St Peter’s, Gloucester|
|Brighton College 22-8 John Fisher||11.40||Eltham College 5-29 Merchiston Castle|
|RGS High Wycombe 10-5 Whitchurch High School||12.20||Dulwich College 29-7 RGS Newcastle|
|Millfield 24-19 QEGS Wakefield||13.00||Hampton 29-12 Hurstpierpoint College|
|St Joseph’s College 10-0 St Peter’s, Gloucester||13.40||Denstone College 36-0 Portsmouth Grammar School|
|Brighton College 7-0 Merchiston Castle||14.20||Eltham College 26-10 John Fisher|
|Dulwich College 14-5 RGS High Wycombe||15.00||RGS Newcastle 29-12 Whitchurch High School|
|Hampton 22-19 Millfield||15.40||Hurstpierpoint College 10-19 QEGS Wakefield|
|St Joseph’s College 10-3 Denstone College||16.20||St Peter’s Gloucester 33-7 Portsmouth Grammar School|
|2017 St Joseph’s Festival – Day 2 Groups|
|Group A (Cup)||Group B (Cup)||Group W (Plate)||Group X (Plate)|
|Brighton College||Millfield||Eltham College||QEGS Wakefield|
|Dulwich College||St Joseph’s College||RGS High Wycombe||St Peter’s, Gloucester|
|Hampton||Merchiston Castle||Hurstpierpoint College||John Fisher|
|Denstone College||RGS Newcastle||Portsmouth Grammar School||Whitchurch High School|
|St Joseph’s Festival – Day 2 Fixtures|
|Pitch 1||Time||Pitch 2|
|Eltham College v Portsmouth Grammar School||08.30
|RGS High Wycombe v Hurstpierpoint College|
|Brighton College v Denstone College||09.05
|Dulwich College v Hampton|
|QEGS Wakefield v Whitchurch High School||09.40
|St Peter’s, Gloucester v John Fisher|
|St Joseph’s College v Merchiston Castle||10.15
|Millfield v RGS Newcastle|
|Eltham College v Hurstpierpoint College||10.50
|RGS High Wycombe v Portsmouth Grammar School|
|Brighton College v Hampton||11.25
|Dulwich College v Denstone College|
|QEGS Wakefield v John Fisher||12.00
|St Peter’s, Gloucester v Whitchurch High School|
|St Joseph’s College v RGS Newcastle||12.35
|Millfield v Merchiston Castle|
|Eltham College v RGS High Wycombe||13.10
|Hurstpierpoint College v Portsmouth Grammar School|
|Brighton College v Dulwich College||13.45
|Hampton v Denstone College|
|QEGS Wakefield v St Peter’s, Gloucester||14.20
|John Fisher v Whitchurch High School|
|Millfield v St Joseph’s College||14.55
|Merchiston Castle v RGS Newcastle|