While much of the attention of the schools rugby community was turned towards a stunning tournament at the St Joseph’s Festival this weekend, a spectacular weekend was evolving elsewhere.
With big games on both Friday and Saturday, there was plenty to get excited about, not least arguably the biggest game of the schools rugby season.
Without a doubt the biggest game of the weekend, perhaps the entire season, was in Cumbria as Sedbergh hosted one of the very best and most prestigious schools in Ireland, Blackrock College.
Tales of Irish schools rugby in recent years have been legendary, the professionalism of the setup and ties to academies yielding spectacular results for Leinster in particular. Word coming to us from across the Irish Sea was confident, but knowing Sedbergh as all of us on this side do, it felt like this was an opportunity for a spectacular game.
So it proved, the two went at each other hammer and tong, they could barely be separated and the quality was right at the very peak of global schoolboy rugby. When it came down to it, it was a spectacular and dramatic last play try that proved the difference. It was Sedbergh that grabbed it, winning 26-23 in a game for the ages. You can read out full report from that game here: Sedbergh 26-23 Blackrock College.
Elsewhere on Friday, Pate’s Grammar won their derby against St Peter’s Gloucster 22-7, while in Bath KES put on a fantastic display against Beechen Cliff’s non-AASE side, winning 29-10.
To Saturday, where a number of this opening half term’s most impressive performers were in action. Sherborne bounced back from last week’s defeat by Millfield to return to their dominant form of the previous six weeks, beating Bryanston 49-17.
Clifton College were also in the form that we have come to expect from them this year as they won an absolute thriller against AASE side Truro College, 43-36, sending them into half term full of confidence.
Also impressing in this first half of term have been Whitgift, whose form continued in style on Saturday as they travelled to Wiltshere and came home with a stunning 65-0 away victory at Bishop Wordsworth’s.
Arguably the result of the day though came in Newcastle, as Dame Allan’s beat Bradford Grammar in a fantastic game of schoolboy rugby, 29-24. Bradford Grammar have been in spectacular for all season, losing just once, their pace out wide proving devastating at times. However Dame Allan’s superb work in the tight, at the breakdown and the set piece, built the platform for them to take the victory, an absolutely fantastic effort.
Elsewhere Ellesmere College were in fine form, beating Castle Rushen 45-0, while Bishop’s Stortford High School were even more spectacular on their way to a 65-7 away victory at Richard Hale. Meanwhile in a closer game Gordon’s took a 24-17 victory away at Glyn.
Wirral Grammar are a side that have really impressed so far this term, claiming some big scalps along the way. They claimed another on Saturday with a superb 34-17 victory over St Ambrose College, sealing a brilliant first half of term.
Newcastle School for Boys were also in spectacular form, securing a 57-12 victory away at Giggleswick, while Bristol Grammar continued their fine work this term with a 36-5 victory over QEH. City of London Freemen’s have also been quietly impressive so far this term and showed it again on Saturday, securing a 34-8 victory over Shiplake College.
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Schools Rugby Weekend Results – Friday 18th & Saturday 19th October:
St Joseph’s Festival – Click for Roundup
Merchiston Castle Festival – Click for Roundup
Bishop Wordsworth’s 0-65 Whitgift
Bristol GS 36-5 QEH
City of London Freemen’s 34-8 Shiplake College
Clifton College 43-36 Truro College
Dame Allan’s 29-24 Bradford GS
Dauntsey’s v Prior Park College – TBA
Ellesmere College 45-0 Castle Rushen
Giggleswick 12-57 Newcastle SfB
Glyn 17-24 Gordon’s
KES Birmingham v Old Swinford Hospital – TBA
Richard Hale 7-65 Bishop’s Stortford HS
Sherborne 49-17 Bryanston
Wirral GS 34-17 St Ambrose College
KES Bath 29-10 Beechen Cliff (non-AASE)
Pate’s GS 22-7 St Peter’s, Gloucester
Sedbergh 26-23 Blackrock College