Undoubtedly this weekend was one of the most competitive of the season, with a huge number of games decided by a score or less and tales from across the country of some thrilling and exhaustingly competitive games of rugby.
Of course that makes our task of selecting just five school for our Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend as tricky a task as ever, but the great pleasure when the offerings are as good as this weekend is that it feels like a privilege to sift through so much excellent rugby.
Plenty deserve a mention on what was a brilliant weekend, but as ever just five can be chosen, and without further ado here are our Top 5.
Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend
Bedford have only won once so far this season, so a trip to an Oakham side that had won six of their ten games probably seemed a tall order. Bedford did not win, the sides drew 21-21, however in doing so they demonstrated huge spirit, desire, and competitiveness, not to mention ability. It might only have been a draw, but away from home against a strong side it was a hugely impressive outcome and one that should spark plenty of confidence into the men in red for the rest of the season, and with four games to come, perhaps spark a bit of a winning run.
QEGS have been through a bit of a rough patch, without a win since late September. Ending that drought on Saturday was a therefore a top effort, not least because it came against a Bradford Grammar side who have a decent record and would have been feeling confident after winning a narrow thriller the weekend before. Now it is QEGS who should be feeling the wave of confidence after getting back to winning ways, a timely win too with tough games against RGS Newcastle and Denstone College to come.
By all accounts Saturday’s game against Rugby School was the schools rugby equivalent of the Ireland v New Zealand game. Both sides threw absolutely everything at it and left the field utterly exhausted, completely physically and mentally drained. That Stamford came away the 32-21 victors was remarkable, on two counts. First, while Stamford have a decent record this season, Rugby were unbeaten. Second, Rugby were 14-0 up after just ten minutes. Coming back from that is a challenge at the best of times, let alone when facing an unbeaten side that is generally regarded as being among the best around. A truly brilliant effort from both sides and a victory and performance that should leave Stamford feeling very proud.
Arguably the game of the weekend turned out to be Whitgift v Dulwich College a thrilling game that could have gone either way. In the end it went Whitgift’s way, 33-30, but it was a game that gave us all what we wanted. When top sides go head to head the dream is always an intensely close affair that could go either way. The reality is usually that one side finds an edge and manages to create a gap that at least on the scoreboard, if not the field, is relatively comfortable. Not so here, both sides came out with huge credit and could barely be separated, to the point where it became inevitable that the winner would be in out Top 5. With Millfield to come on Saturday, it was perfect for Whitgift, who must be on cloud 9 after coming away with the points in such a thrilling game.
Worksop College arrived at Wisbech Grammar on a seven game winning streak that stretched back to mid-September. Wisbech were on a strong run too, with five from five. A close game was therefore expected but instead Wisbech put in a terrific performance to secure their sixth victory in a row, not only that but they did so in style, securing a dominant 40-19 victory. Across that six game streak Wisbech no have an average scoreline of roughly 41-10, seriously impressive stuff.