As the rest of the country debated, despaired, drowned their sorrows, or distracted themselves as Saturday morning moved into Saturday afternoon, the world of schools rugby kicked itself into gear.
Some had moved matches to Friday night, others had moved morning games to the afternoon, some had gone further and cancelled games altogether, all in the spirit of letting sports fans be sports fans and capture the unique moment that is a Rugby World Cup final.
Whether the result went your way or not, few could deny the inspirational tone that seeing Siya Kolisi lift the Webb Ellis Cup struck, and that inspiration surely seeped through to some of Saturday’s action.
Barnard Castle went into half term unbeaten, having played some outstanding rugby, and they have started out this second half of term in just the same brilliant fashion. They traveled down to Yorkshire to take on Ampleforth College and came away with a brilliant 41-0 victory that will leave them full of confidence ahead of Wednesday’s Schools Cup clash against RGS Newcastle.
Speaking of knockout games, two of Wednesday’s Champions Trophy quarter finalists were in action on Saturday. Blundell’s made the trip to Downside after two days of driving rain in the south west, and though they fielded a much rested side with Wednesday’s arrival of Epsom College in mind, they came away with the tightest of victories, 7-5. Uppingham were the other of the quarter finalists in action, they travelled to their great old rivals on Saturday, Oundle. Having had a brilliant opening half of term they were in supreme spirit, and secured yet another excellent victory, 24-6.
Miserable conditions were a bit of a theme of the weekend but Wisbech Grammar overcame them as they secured a very strong 22-5 victory over Wymondham College, while elsewhere Sevenoaks were in excellent for a 23-0 victory of Duke of York’s Royal Military School.
Norwich won a real thriller against The Leys, 29-27, which should fill them with confidence ahead of Thursday’s Schools Cup tie, while St Edward’s Oxford got their second half of term off to a cracking start after a tricky first half, securing an 18-6 victory over St Benedict’s.
Canford have been one of the most consistent teams around in the first half of the season and they carried that on at the start of this second half of term with a wonderful 18-0 away victory at Marlborough College. St Paul’s also continued their excellent first of the first half of the season with a dominant 47-3 victory over The Perse on Saturday.
Arguably one of the most impressive results of the weekend saw Tonbridge make the trip from Kent to North West London to take on a very strong Harrow side and come away with a 13-8 victory that should set them up for an excellent next six weeks of the season.
Meanwhile in the big Oratory derby, as The Oratory in Reading, The Oratory won a game against London Oratory that was played in brilliant spirit by a 27-17 margin.
In Scotland Merchiston Castle were on form, beating Strathallan 27-3, while Loretto picked up a 22-14 victory at home to Bell Baxter, Glasgow Academy were 22-15 victors over Kelvinside Academy, and Dollar Academy were in superb form for a 40-14 victory over George Heriot’s.
There was a game in Scotland on Friday night too as George Watson’s College picked up where they left off from their title at the Merchiston Castle Festival, beating Edinburgh Academy in a bit of a thriller, 21-18.
Meanwhile at Blackheath St Olave’s Grammar won 29-12 against Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar on a night that saw loads of fantastic rugby on offer, with the 2nd XV and U13s also in action at the old ground.
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Schools Rugby Weekend Results – Saturday 2nd November:
Ampleforth College 0-41 Barnard Castle
Dollar Academy 40-14 George Heriot’s
Downside 5-7 Blundell’s
Glasgow Academy 22-15 Kelvinside Academy
Harrow 8-13 Tonbridge
Loretto 22-14 Bell Baxter
Marlborough College 0-18 Canford
Merchiston Castle 27-3 Strathallan
Norwich 29-27 The Leys
The Oratory 27-17 London Oratory
Oundle 6-24 Uppingham
Sevenoaks 23-0 Duke of York’s RMS
St Edward’s, Oxford 18-6 St Benedict’s
St Paul’s 47-3 The Perse
Wisbech GS 22-5 Wymondham College
Chislehurst & Sidcup GS 12-29 St Olave’s GS
George Watson’s College 21-18 Edinburgh Academy
Image via Simon Hipwell