The Edwin Doran Surrey Schools Senior 7s takes place on Wednesday 13th March at the Richmond Athletic Ground and once again it attracts some of the best teams in the country.
The Edwin Doran Surrey Schools Senior 7s is one of the jewels in the school 7s season crown, believed by some to be as hard, if not harder, to win than the Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s as a result of the quality of the field, the fact that it all takes place on one day, and that all sides are in one competition rather than a Cup/Vase split.
Whether or not that is the case, it certainly goes to show the quality of the tournament and the respect that teams and spectators have for it. It is backed up by the fact that of the last four champions at the Surrey 7s (weather forced a cancellation in 2016), three have reached the Rosslyn Park final. Cranleigh won in 2018 before going on to lose out to the all-conquering Sedbergh in the Rosslyn Park final, while Wellington College did the double in 2015, backing up Millfield’s double in 2014, their second double in the space of five years, incidentally.
It was Cranleigh’s third Rosslyn Park final in a row, they won the previous two, and the 2018 Edwin Doran Surrey Schools Senior 7s champions are, as holders, drawn in Group A this year. In total there are 13 groups, A-M, with four sides in each. The winner of each group progresses to the Cup knockout stages alongside the top 3 runners up, creating a last 16 round to begin the knockouts. The next 8 best placed Surrey affiliated schools then compete in the Plate knockouts, for which St John’s Leatherhead are the reigning champions.
Alongside Cranleigh, who won this year’s Hampton 7s, in Group A are Emanuel and Isleworth & Syon, as well as a St Joseph’s College side that will certainly have big ambitions and were Cup runners up back in 2014.
Reigning Plate champions St John’s Leatherhead are in Group B, St John’s also won it in 2013. They have a tricky group too, featuring AASE side Oaklands College who won the Cup back in 2013, defeating Wellington College in the final. Joining those two are Abingdon and Glyn, both of whom will be highly competitive.
Group C looks pretty brutal, with two AASE sides, Henley College and Beechen Cliff, who were Cup runners up back in 2017, losing out to Hampton. Joining them are Eastbourne College and a Seaford College side that are looking really strong and will fancy a shot at reaching the cup.
Group D features one of the tournament’s most successful sides, Wellington College. They have won the Cup twice in the last ten years, 2015 and 2009 as well as reaching the 2013 and 2011 finals. Joining them in a Surrey heavy group are Christ’s Hospital, who are looking strong this 7s season, Harris City Academy, and Wallington County Grammar.
Last year’s runners up, Harrow, are in Group E. They will face stiff competition in the form of Rugby School, one of the top fifteen-a-side teams this year. Joining those two are KCS Wimbledon and Victoria College, who come up from Jersey and will no doubt add plenty to the tournament.
Group F is heavyweight, with AASE giants Hartpury College drawn alongside Whitgift. Hartpury are the reigning AASE champions, while Whitgift are one of the top sides in the county, though having won their Schools Cup semi final on Saturday they may have their focus on other matters. How they do in that will likely determine what sort of side they put out at the Richmond Athletic Ground. Joining them are Orelans Park and St Benedict’s, who will look to take advantage of any weaknesses.
Group G features the 2017 champions, Hampton, who reached the final of their own tournament at the end of February. They will be hoping for a repeat of that 2017 run but face a stern test in the form of Kirkham Grammar School, consistently one of the top sides in the country over the last four or five years. Campion are also in the group and will cause plenty of problems, so too Weston College.
Millfield reside in Group H, the most successful side in the tournament’s history. They won most recently in 2014, following up their previous triumph in 2010. In both years they went on to win at Rosslyn Park. They have also reached to other finals in the last ten years, losing both to Wellington College, 2015 and 2009. They will be favourites to progress to the Cup from Group H but Downside will pose plenty of questions for them, so too 2012 Plate champions RGS Guildford and Royal Alexandra & Albert, who will be keen to give a great account of themselves.
Schools Cup semi finalists Marlborough College are in Group I, should they have recover physically from Saturday’s Cup semi final defeat to Whitgift they will see this as a great chance to bounce back. Waiting to pounce though are three very competitive sides, Trinity, London Oratory, and a John Fisher side that has a habit of coming good in these major 7s tournaments.
Caterham have reached back to back Plate finals, winning back in 2017. They are in Group L but face an almighty challenge with Dulwich College and Hurstpierpoint College both in the group, two sides that could go deep in the tournament and will except a lot of themselves having already won silverware so far this season.. Do not discount Seevic College either, who are capable of some excellent rugby.
Group K features an Epsom College side already with major 7s silverware in their pocket after winning the Sussex Schools 7s earlier in the season and then the Hiscox Reigate Charity 7s just a couple of weeks ago. They are in an interesting group where they will be favourites to reach the Cup but are drawn against three sides that are all capable of springing some nasty shocks, Hayes, Sevenoaks, and, in particular, St George’s Collge Weybridge.
Group L is another loaded one, it is likely to see Brighton College and Berkhamsted scrap it out, two sides that could have excellent 7s seasons ahead. Brighton are on form having won the Worth 7s on Sunday, however the group also features Eton College who are more than capable of stringing a great run of games together. Gordon’s draw the short straw here but will be up for the challenge for sure, particularly having claimed the Trophy at the Worth 7s.
The final group, Group M, features AASE side St Paul’s Catholic College, who looked good at the Hampton 7s. Alongside them are the ever tenacious Wimbledon College as well as George Abbot School and St Olave’s Grammar.
Edwin Doran Surrey Schools Senior 7s Draw:
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Cranleigh||Abingdon||Beechen Cliff School||Christ’s Hospital|
|Emanuel||Glyn||Eastbourne College||Harris City Academy|
|Isleworth & Syon||Oaklands College||Henley College||Wallington County Grammar|
|St Joseph’s College||St John’s, Leatherhead||Seaford College||Wellington College|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|Harrow||Hartpury College||Campion (Hornchurch)||Downside|
|KCS Wimbledon||Orleans Park School||Hampton||Millfield|
|Rugby||St Benedict’s||Kirkham Grammar School||RGS Guildford|
|Victoria College, Jersey||Whitgift||Weston College||Royal Alexandra & Albert|
|Group I||Group J||Group K||Group L|
|John Fisher||Caterham||Epsom College||Berkhamsted School|
|London Oratory School||Dulwich College||Hayes||Brighton College|
|Marlborough College||Hurstpierpoint College||Sevenoaks||Eton College|
|Trinity||Seevic College||St George’s, Weybridge||Gordon’s|
|George Abbot School|
|St Olave’s Grammar|
|St Paul’s Catholic College|