Schools rugby returned in style this weekend after the half term break with some superb games of rugby.
There were some hugely impressive scorelines, some tight thrillers, and even a couple of draws, including one in one of the biggest school rugby matches of the season.
The Oxford derby between Abingdon and St Edward’s is always a cracking game, and so it proved once again as Teddies took a tight one on opposition territory, just pinching it 13-12 for a memorable derby victory.
Over in the south west things were not so close. Blundell’s v Clifton College was expected to be fairly tight, with Blundell’s the slight favourites. The Tiverton men put in a storming display though to take the spoils 47-0. A quite outstanding win and a tough one for Clifton, though with England and Wales having a forwards session on their grounds today, they will not be short of inspiration for their next game.
Woodhouse Grove put in a fine display too, defeated a Denstone College side that had performed well at a high quality St Joseph’s Festival by a strong 30-8 margin.
In London the Harrow machine marches on, they started the season brilliantly and as we move into the second half of it they remain unbeaten and in great form after they beat a spirited Tonbridge side 28-5, Harrow could yet make a big dent in the Daily Mail Trophy title challenge.
In South West London there was a thriller of a game between KCS Wimbledon and St Paul’s. St Paul’s took a 10-3 lead, only for KCS to then peg it back and then overhaul it for a 24-10 lead of their own. Two tries in quick succession for the visitors followed though, tying the game up at 24-24, a fitting final scoreline for a game between to well matched sides.
Heading out along the M4 there was a cracking game between Marlborough College and the unbeaten Canford. Both sides scored tries, with Canford keeping their impressive form up for a 30-20 victory at the final whistle.
Warwick backed up their midweek Schools Cup win with a 29-17 victory at Oakham. It was a good performance from Oakham though, Warwick probably expected it to be a little easier given results to date this season but they were made to work hard for their win.
A little further along the road there was a big derby between two of Oakham’s rivals, Oundle and Uppingham. They played out a tense and low scoring contest, with Uppingham taking the spoils 10-3, in what to them will feel like their most important victory of the season.
There was a truly thrilling game at Sherborne as they hosted Radley College in one of the oldest school fixtures in rugby. The sides shared fifty-two points, with Sherborne just taking the spoils 28-24.
So to that huge game between one of the very best in school rugby in England against one of the very best in Ireland, Wellington College v Blackrock College. In tough conditions these two put on a hugely physical yet skillful display. Blackrock College had the wind in the first half and used it well, asserting themselves through their pack and taking a 14-0 lead into the half time break.
Wellington fought back early in the second half though, now with the wind behind them and a vocal crowd urging them on. Two quick tries narrowed things back to 14-12, with their back row coming into the game more and more.
A breakaway score from the visitors stretched their lead though, taking them out to 19-14 as the time began to tick away. Wellington came back but Blackrock were holding firm, with three minutes to go though Wellington finally breached the Dubliners line, nervelessly slotting the conversion to level the game at 19-19.
It was a fitting way for these two top teams from two different nations to end the game, as inseparable at the whistle as they had been through the game. If this is the quality of Anglo-Irish fixtures, we need more!
Around the Grounds
Those ten ‘Focus On’ games were far from the only impressive ones this weekend though. Campion were just as brilliant on Saturday as they had been prior to half term, beating Bishop Stortford’s High School 42-5.
As were Brighton College. They backed up their wonderful St Joseph’s Festival triumph with a superb 46-0 victory over Skinners, a side that always make a point of being tough to beat.
Bristol Grammar were in flying form too, beating QEH 51-0, while Caterham had a good day at the office too, beating Worth 43-13. So too Wilmslow High School, 56-18 winners over Cheadle Hulme, and Chislehurst & Sidcup, 40-5 winners at home to Cranbrook.
In Scotland George Watson’s enjoyed a thumping win at Dollar Academy, 66-3, while Merchiston Castle, buoyed by their excellent showing at St Joseph’s, beat Edinburgh Academy 52-0 in the oldest continuous school fixture in schools rugby.
Ellesmere College will be pleased with their 32-8 win over King’s Worcester, and there was a top win for Hampton, who beat Seaford College 33-19. KES Bath still look good, they saw off King’S Bruton 34-7, and there was a good 21-3 win for Merchant Taylors’ over Reading Blue Coat.
Llandovery College surprised many with an excellent 35-20 win over Millfield, a tremendous response having had a tough loss to Sedbergh before the half term break. There was a tremendous response from Leicester Grammar School too. They had a tough first half of term but had a stunning 90-0 win over Lawrence Sherriff on Saturday.
Christ’s Hospital will deservedly delighted with their 36-25 win away at Reigate Grammar, with Sevenoaks will be over the moon after a stunning 60-0 win over Duke of York’s Royal Military School.
RGS Newcastle took the spoils in one of the big games in the North East, beating Ampleforth College 32-10. Welbeck, meanwhile, were in flying form at home to Princethorpe, winning 66-7.
Judd’s season to remember continues, they beat St Albans by a highly impressive 62-14 margin. Momentum continues to build at Stamford too, they were again victorious, this time at home to Solihull by a solid 35-17 margin.
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).
Image via Simon Hipwell Photography
Schools Rugby Weekend Fixtures – Saturday 4th November (predictions in bold):
Abingdon 12-13 St Edward’s, Oxford (Daily Mail Trophy)
Blundell’s 47-0 Clifton College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Denstone College 8-30 Woodhouse Grove (Daily Mail Trophy)
Harrow 28-5 Tonbridge (Daily Mail Trophy)
KCS Wimbledon 24-24 St Paul’s (Daily Mail Trophy)
Marlborough College 20-30 Canford (Daily Mail Trophy)
Oakham 17-29 Warwick (Daily Mail Trophy)
Oundle 3-10 Uppingham (Daily Mail Trophy)
Sherborne 28-24 Radley College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Wellington College 19-19 Blackrock College
Ashville College 19-7 Dame Allan’s (Daily Mail Trophy)
Bedford 34-5 Loughborough (Daily Mail Trophy)
Bishop Stortford’s HS 5-42 Campion
Bishop Vesey’s GS 55-12 Adams GS
Bradford GS 13-5 Pocklington (Daily Mail Trophy)
Brighton College 46-0 Skinners’ (Daily Mail Trophy)
Bristol GS 51-0 QEH
Caterham 43-14 Worth (Daily Mail Trophy)
Cheadle Hulme 18-56 Wilmslow HS
Chislehurst & Sidcup GS 40-5 Cranbrook
Clayesmore 10-48 Queen’s College, Taunton
Cranleigh 67-7 Gower (Old Boys)
Dollar Academy 3-66 George Watson’s
Edinburgh Academy 0-52 Merchiston Castle
Ellesmere College 32-8 King’s Worcester (Daily Mail Trophy)
Emanuel 0-22 Wimbledon College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Enfield GS 7-52 Haberdashers’
Fettes College 41-26 Loretto
Glasgow Academy 22-12 Hutchesons’ GS
Glenalmond 63-3 Bell Baxter
Glyn 3-14 Langley Park
Hampton 33-19 Seaford College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Hereford Cathedral School 36-10 King’s Gloucester
KES Birmingham 17-6 Old Swinford Hospital (Daily Mail Trophy)
KES Stratford 13-26 RGS Worcester
King’s Bruton 7-34 KES Bath
Leicester GS 90-0 Lawrence Sherriff
Llandovery College 35-20 Millfield
London Oratory 31-19 Wellington College 2nd XV
Merchant Taylors’ 21-3 Reading Blue Coat (Daily Mail Trophy)
Northampton School for Boys 48-0 Aylesbury GS (Daily Mail Trophy)
Norwich 24-17 The Leys
Oratory 12-22 Magdalen College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Reigate GS 25-36 Christ’s Hospital (Daily Mail Trophy)
RGS Colchester 26-7 St Olave’s GS
RGS Newcastle 32-10 Ampleforth College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Richard Hale 33-0 St Columba’s College
Royal Hospital School 10-20 The Perse
Sevenoaks 60-0 Duke of York’s RMS
Shiplake College 7-15 UCS
Stamford 35-17 Solihull (Daily Mail Trophy)
Stewart’s Melville 0-19 Strathallan
St Albans 14-62 Judd
St Edward’s College 27-15 Liverpool College
St George’s, Harpenden 10-12 QES Barnet
St Peter’s Gloucester 19-33 Pate’s GS (Daily Mail Trophy)
Tiffin 7-22 St George’s College, Weybridge (Daily Mail Trophy)
Wallington CGS 0-24 John Fisher
Welbeck 66-7 Princethorpe College
Wirral GS 8-5 St Ambrose College (Daily Mail Trophy)
Wisbech GS 15-12 Ratcliffe College
Still to Come:
Barnard Castle v Austin Friars
Bedford Modern v Watford GS
Bryanston v Bishop Wordsworth’s (Daily Mail Trophy)
City of London Freemen’s v Churcher’s College
Dauntsey’s v Prior Park College
Glasgow HS v Kelvinside Academy
Gunnersbury v Latymer Upper
Maidstone GS v Dartford GS
Nottingham HS v King’s Macclesfield (Daily Mail Trophy)
Yarm v Newcastle School for Boys