St Joseph’s Festival: Brighton College banish 2016 demons with a stunning final performance


Brighton College put in a stunning display in the final of the St Joseph’s Festival to finally get their hands on the De La Salle Trophy.


It was a truly outstanding performance in the final, where they beat a strong Millfield side 38-12, avenging last year’s heartbreaking tournament for them, when they missed out on the title on try count back after a draw in the final.


It means that Brighton College have gone an incredible two years without tasting defeat at this tournament, a record that puts them right up there with some of the very best to have stretched their legs on this Suffolk turf.


Right from the opening game on Day 1, where they beat eventual Plate finalists Eltham College 19-5, Brighton were talked about as the team to beat.


They saved the best to last though, a truly sensational performance in the final. They led by an almost unbelievable 31-0 margin over a Millfield side that had turned plenty of heads all weekend. As performances in finals and under pressure go, it was just about as good as it gets.


Tries in that first half came from centre Alfie Beadle, a brace from left wing Henry Simpson, who also had a sensational kicking performance as well, a truly superb effort from number 8 Toby Smith, who charged from deep inside his own half and then showed stunning pace to finish off.


It was fitting that following the conclusion of the tournament Smith was awarded the prestigious Player of the Tournament gong, following on from Harlequins’ Marcus Smith, who won it last year in Brighton College colours.


It was a clean sweep of awards for the south coast side, who also claimed the Try of the Tournament through full back Jon Searle, another man that was in the running for the Player of the Tournament award, alongside openside Luke James.


Credit must go to Millfield though, after such a tough first half it would have been easy to cave, and perhaps there was fear of that when almost straight from the kick of Luc Smith, brother of Marcus, scored following a brilliant Luke James break.


Millfield had played stunning rugby all weekend though, and they were determined not to exit without some real fight. Increasing their tempo and urgency they scored two tries, through back rowers Tyler Olding and Henry Povoas, giving the final score a much more respectable look of 38-12.


Over in the Plate tournament QEGS Wakefield made up for their tough exit from the Cup yesterday, by a single try on try count, by going on to dominate the Plate, conceding just ten points across their four plate fixtures.


That included a 13-0 win in the final against a highly spirited and impressive Eltham College side, nobody could possibly complain though, QEGS were without doubt the top side in the Plate, and in truth they could well have challenged right at the top end of the Trophy, had the got that extra try.


There was not a side in the tournament that could have lived with Brighton College in that Trophy final, nor indeed the tournament as a whole. They were the only side to go through it unbeaten, and on Sunday they truly stepped up, playing some stunning rugby, a blend of intelligent play for field position, but also an ambition to attack from deep and to keep the ball alive through offloading and passing that few could live with.


They opened up the day with a brilliant 17-0 win over Denstone College, backing that up with a 10-0 win over Hampton. Arguably their toughest game came against Dulwich College in what was effectively a semi final, the final pool game in Group A, where the winner would reach the final.


Dulwich had impressed all weekend and ran Brighton close, but the men from the south coast managed to scrap for a 12-5 victory.


Millfield impressed too, their key result was a 24-12 win over a highly impressive Merchiston Castle outfit, a win that backed up their opening 36-0 win over RGS Newcastle.


A defeat to home side St Joseph’s College in a dead rubber pool game at the end perhaps showed signs of a vulnerability to Brighton College though, certainly Brighton were out of the traps in the final like greyhounds, two tries up in five minutes.


In many ways that fast start encapsulated why Brighton College won this tournament, not only was it a highly skillful start, it was a passionate and determined one. That passion and determination, allied with skill and ambition to spare, was what set them apart all weekend. This was a side hurting after last year’s final, and a coaching staff that had been waiting a decade, they did not just want this, they ached for it.


They were prepared to be brave though, the whole squad was rotated and the side played with real ambition throughout, it was a truly outstanding weekend.


Ambition was the theme of the weekend, almost all sides played with that desire to have a go, and it made for a wonderful weekend of rugby from all sides.


For Brighton College, victory, it seems, is worth the wait. A year on from heartbreak, they now have their champagne moment.


2017 St Joseph’s Festival Final Results & Standings:


De La Salle Trophy Final:


Brighton College 38-12 Millfield


Plate Final:


Eltham College 0-13 QEGS Wakefield


St Joseph’s Festival Group A Final Standings
1Brighton College3006
2Dulwich College2014
4Denstone College0030


St Joseph’s Festival Group B Final Standings
2Merchiston Castle1113
3RGS Newcastle1113
4St Joseph’s College1022


St Joseph’s Festival Group W Final Standings
1Eltham College3006
2Hurstpierpoint College1113
3RGS High Wycombe1113
4Portsmouth Grammar School0000


St Joseph’s Festival Group X Final Standings
1QEGS Wakefield3006
2Whitchurch High School2014
3John Fisher1022
4St Peter’s, Gloucester0030


2017 St Joseph’s Festival – Day 2 Groups
Group A (Cup)Group B (Cup)Group W (Plate)Group X (Plate)
Brighton CollegeMillfieldEltham CollegeQEGS Wakefield
Dulwich CollegeSt Joseph’s CollegeRGS High WycombeSt Peter’s, Gloucester
HamptonMerchiston CastleHurstpierpoint CollegeJohn Fisher
Denstone CollegeRGS NewcastlePortsmouth Grammar SchoolWhitchurch High School


St Joseph’s Festival – Day 2 Results
Pitch 1TimePitch 2
Eltham College w/o Portsmouth Grammar School08.30


RGS High Wycombe 12-12 Hurstpierpoint College
Brighton College 17-0 Denstone College09.05


Dulwich College 17-7 Hampton
QEGS Wakefield 32-10 Whitchurch High School09.40


St Peter’s, Gloucester 7-19 John Fisher
St Joseph’s College 0-10 Merchiston Castle10.15


Millfield 36-0 RGS Newcastle
Eltham College 12-7 Hurstpierpoint College10.50


RGS High Wycombe w/o Portsmouth Grammar School
Brighton College 10-0 Hampton11.25


Dulwich College 15-12 Denstone College
QEGS Wakefield 26-0 John Fisher12.00


St Peter’s, Gloucester 5-26 Whitchurch High School
St Joseph’s College 5-12 RGS Newcastle12.35


Millfield 24-12 Merchiston Castle
Eltham College 12-5 RGS High Wycombe13.10


Hurstpierpoint College w/o Portsmouth Grammar School
Brighton College 12-5 Dulwich College13.45


Hampton 20-12 Denstone College
QEGS Wakefield 31-0 St Peter’s, Gloucester14.20


John Fisher 12-17 Whitchurch High School
Millfield 5-10 St Joseph’s College14.55


Merchiston Castle 17-17 RGS Newcastle
Eltham College15.30

Plate Final

QEGS Wakefield
Brighton College16.15

Cup Final



2017 St Joseph’s Festival Day 1 Standings & Results – Day 2 Groups & Fixtures


St Joseph’s Festival Group 1 Final Standings
1Brighton College3006
2Merchiston Castle2014
3Eltham College1022
4John Fisher0030


St Joseph’s Festival Group 2 Final Standings
1Dulwich College3006
2RGS Newcastle2014
3RGS High Wycombe1023
4Whitchurch High School0032


St Joseph’s Festival Group 3 Final Standings
3QEGS Wakefied2014
4Hurstpierpoint College0030


St Joseph’s Festival Group 4 Final Standings
1St Joseph’s College3006
2Denstone College2014
3St Peter’s, Gloucester1022
4Portsmouth Grammar School0030


2017 St Joseph’s Festival – Day 1 Groups
Group 1Group 2Group 3Group 4
Brighton CollegeRGS High WycombeMillfieldSt Joseph’s College
Merchiston Castle SchoolDulwich CollegeHamptonDenstone College
John FisherRGS NewcastleQEGS WakefieldSt Peter’s School, Gloucester
Eltham CollegeWhitchurch High SchoolHurstpierpoint CollegePortsmouth Grammar School


St Joseph’s Festival – Day 1 Results
Pitch 1TimePitch 2
Brighton College 19-5 Eltham College09.00John Fisher 13-18 Merchiston Castle
RGS High Wycombe 0-13 RGS Newcastle09.40Dulwich College 15-0 Whitchurch High School
Hurstpierpoint College 14-31 Millfield10.20Hampton 12-21 QEGS Wakefield
St Joseph’s College 10-3 Portsmouth Grammar School11.00Denstone College 15-0 St Peter’s, Gloucester
Brighton College 22-8 John Fisher11.40Eltham College 5-29 Merchiston Castle
RGS High Wycombe 10-5 Whitchurch High School12.20Dulwich College 29-7 RGS Newcastle
Millfield 24-19 QEGS Wakefield13.00Hampton 29-12 Hurstpierpoint College
St Joseph’s College 10-0 St Peter’s, Gloucester13.40Denstone College 36-0 Portsmouth Grammar School
Brighton College 7-0 Merchiston Castle14.20Eltham College 26-10 John Fisher
Dulwich College 14-5 RGS High Wycombe15.00RGS Newcastle 29-12 Whitchurch High School
Hampton 22-19 Millfield15.40Hurstpierpoint College 10-19 QEGS Wakefield
St Joseph’s College 10-3 Denstone College16.20St Peter’s Gloucester 33-7 Portsmouth Grammar School
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