It might not have been the busiest week of the season in the world of U18 school rugby, but it has certainly been one of the most exciting.
The Schools Cup quarter finalists were confirmed, and the Daily Mail Trophy saw major change too, as for the first time in three years it looks as though it could be prised from Wellington College’s grasp.
The action all began on Tuesday with a huge Oxford derby. With Abingdon, Radley College, and St Edward’s Oxford all in close proximity, it makes for quite a trio of games. Radley and Teddies had both already beaten Abingdon, Radley having done so last weekend, so met on Tuesday in what was effectively a game for Oxford bragging rights.
Almost all of St Edward’s were out on the touchline in force as they watched their team secure an excellent 25-12 victory over their local rivals, completing an unbeaten November in the process.
There was a massive game in the U18 School Vase on Tuesday too as Langley beat Trent College 40-0 in the Midlands B regional final. They now host the London & South East A champions, Hayes, on Wednesday in the quarter final.
There was a flurry of County Cup action too, UCS won the Middlesex Cup with an excellent 37-0 win over the Harrow 2nd XV, while Dame Alice Owens were on fine form too, beating KES Morpeth 26-7.
Elsewhere Kings Ely were on form for a brilliant 50-0 win over Finborough, while Norwich kept up their good work this season with a 39-0 win over Wymondham College.
There was one game in the Daily Mail Trophy on Wednesday that simply demanded attention, Sedbergh v Wellington College at Broadstreet RFC just outside of Coventry.
These two have been among the class of the field in school terms this year, and for a good few years previously, and this game was going to be key in determining the outcome of the Daily Mail Trophy. A win for Wellington and it was all but theirs, but a win for Sedbergh and it was in the Cumbrians hands. What unfolded was a stunning game of rugby, punctuated by 10 minutes of unplayable class from Sedbergh as they surged to a 39-16 win. You can see our report from the game here: Sedbergh v Wellington College.
Elsewhere there were two key games in the U18 Schools Cup as the final two last 16 games were played. In North A QEGS Wakefield secured a tight 12-7 win over RGS Newcastle, coming from 7-0 down to earn their place in the quarter finals away to King’s Macclesfield.
In the other game last year’s finalists, Bishop Wordsworth’s put in their performance of the season to defeat Dean Close, one of the form teams, by a stunning 44-13 margin to seal the quarter final spot from South West A. They will now host Whitgift in January in the quarter final.
You can see a full breakdown of the U18 Schools Cup quarter finals and all of the fixture details: U18 Schools Cup quarter final lineup confirmed.
There was action in the Schools Bowl, too, as John Hampden secured their quarter final berth by beating Cokethorpe 36-22 in the South West B regional final. They now host King Henry VIII Coventry in the quarter finals.
There was plenty of County Cup action on Wednesday too, including a thrilling 17-17 draw between Myerscough College and Manchester Grammar School. Elsewhere St Columba’s were 26-0 winners at Roundwood Park, and Pangbourne College won 36-18 at St Bartholomew’s. Meanwhile St Edmund’s College beat Parmiters 38-0, and in a thrillingly tense game in the North West Lymm High School own 12-5 at Wilsmlow High School.
Elsewhere there was a good 31-22 win for Watford Grammar against Verulam, while Bedford Modern won a thriller at Hills Road, 45-32. Hayes meanwhile look in great shape ahead of their Vase quarter final, they beat Royal Alexandra & Albert 60-0.
There was a big win for Bablake too, they beat Solihull 6th form College 58-0, while Rossall were also big winners, beating Bury Grammar 53-5.
Things were closer in the Midlands though, where King’s Worcester earned a narrow win over Adams Grammar, 13-6. At Haberdashers’, Dr Challoner’s Grammar earned a good win in a thrilling game, beating their hosts 25-22.
Thursday was a fairly quiet day, but did include an impressive win for Colston’s over Beechen Cliff’s 2nd XV – or to look at it another way, their non-AASE side. Colston’s were on great form for a 31-12 victory. St Lawrence College were also on cracking form, beating Oakwood Park by a stunning 50-10 margin.
As always, if you have any videos, photos, or reports from the week’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).
Images via Simon Hipwell, Adams Grammar School & Richard Papworth
Schools Rugby Midweek Fixtures (predictions in bold):
Dame Alice Owens 26-7 KES Morpeth (County Cup)
King’s Ely 50-0 Finborough
Langley 40-0 Trent College (Schools Vase)
Norwich 39-0 Wymondham College
St Edward’s, Oxford 25-12 Radley College (Daily Mail Trophy)
UCS 37-0 Harrow 2nd XV (County Cup Final)
Adams GS 6-13 King’s Worcester
Bablake 58-0 Solihull 6th form College
Bancroft’s 26-22 Davenant
Bishop Wordsworth’s 44-13 Dean Close (Schools Cup)
Bury GS 5-53 Rossall
Haberdashers’ 22-25 Dr Challoner’s GS
Hayes 62-0 Royal Alexandra & Albert
Hills Road 32-45 Bedford Modern
John Hampden GS 36-22 Cokethorpe (Schools Bowl)
Myerscough College 17-17 Manchester GS (County Cup)
QEGS Wakefield 12-7 RGS Newcastle (Schools Cup)
Roundwood Park 0-26 St Columba’s College (County Cup)
Sedbergh 39-16 Wellington College (Daily Mail Trophy)
St Bartholomew’s 18-36 Pangbourne College (County Cup)
St Edmund’s College 38-0 Parmiter’s (County Cup)
Watford GS 31-22 Verulam
Wilmslow HS 5-12 Lymm HS (County Cup)
Beechen Cliff 12-31 Colston’s
St Lawrence College 50-10 Oakwood Park