A wet and muddy weekend gave rise to a different brand of schools rugby this weekend and teams were forced to adapt in some seriously testing conditions.
Schools rugby might have collectively moved towards an attractive, fast paced, try anything, style of rugby in recent years but on Saturday that was put on the shelf across the country as a number of sides were forced into an old fashioned ‘up the jumper’ style of play on a day where the photos coming in all bore more than just a passing resemblance to the famous photos of Fran Cotton in South Africa in 1974.
The competition was still fierce though, not least in our ‘Focus On’ fixtures where there were some outstanding performances and a few surprise results in there too.
One of the key performances of the weekend was surely Millfield’s most notable victory of the season as they travelled to Croydon to take on Whitgift. A really tense game of rugby ensued, but when Cal Smith banged over a long range penalty for Millfield with a little over five minutes left it took the game beyond the hosts and gave Millfield a superb 23-18 victory.
What a game !!! Millfield getting the win 23-18, a real battle against Whitgift. Both teams were amazing and what a game to watch. Great half way line kick from Cal Smith in the 65th min to put the game out of reach Well done Millfield💚❤️💙 @FifteenRugbyXV @MillfieldRugby pic.twitter.com/QDidsb7zkM
— Louise Laferla (@lou2816) November 23, 2019
Elsewhere Bristol Grammar School were in absolutely superb form at home to Blundell’s, earning an impressive 21-5 victory that moves them ever closer to locking in a top 10 finish in the Daily Mail Trophy.
Warwick backed up their tough as nails midweek Cup victory over Bromsgrove with another unbelievably gutsy performance against Rugby on Saturday, securing an 18-12 victory at the side that secured their Champions Trophy final place on Wednesday in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Bromsgrove meanwhile bounced back from that midweek defeat to Warwick in the perfect manner, defying the torrid conditions to secure a 47-7 victory at Stowe, a highly impressive scoreline given the conditions.
Those conditions were in evidence just about everywhere though, not least at Tonbridge where their increasingly entertaining Twitter account put out the following message:
Despite our commitment as a school to playing an attractive brand of sport we have reluctantly taken the decision that today most of the rugby will be of the “up the jumper” variety whilst the football club will be endorsing the long ball strategy.
Yours sincerely, pic.twitter.com/IpButLWPAy
— Tonbridge School | Sport (@TonbridgeSport) November 23, 2019
The up the jumper brand worked just fine against old rivals Dulwich College in a really tight game, Tonbridge continued their fantastic run of late though to come through with a 17-14 victory.
In similar conditions Brighton College won 8-0 at home to John Fisher, another game where neither could really play how they might have liked. Nevertheless it was a strong effort from Brighton College against a John Fisher side whose best form of the season has been in these few weeks since half term.
Denstone College backed up a good effort in midweek in defeat to Kirkham Grammar with an outstanding 40-0 victory away at QEGS Wakefield, a real demonstration of their quality against a side that have reached the quarter finals of the Schools Cup.
One of the biggest shocks of the weekend came at RGS Newcastle where Lancaster RGS secured an excellent 19-10 victory. Both sides were rocked by illness and injury and in conditions similar to the rest of the country it was a naturally tight game, LRGS taking a 13-10 lead into the break having held out RGS through a period of heavy pressure. With conditions worsening in the second half the game tightened up even more, but two LRGS penalties were enough to close it out.
Meanwhile down in Wiltshire Bishop Wordsworth’s came through similar conditions to pick up a highly impressive victory at a dogged and determined Marlborough College, continuing a good run of from since the half term break.
Tight games were very much the story of the weekend, and that meant plenty of sides earning result that were perhaps not expected in advance, including an awesome effort from Mount St Mary’s College, who secured a 7-6 victory at Woodhouse Grove, a side that have enjoyed some impressive performances once again this year.
There was also a surprise in Harrogate, where Ashville College were in awesome form for a 21-0 victory over Bradford Grammar, a side that have been in great from all year and have a Schools Plate regional final on Wednesday to prove it.
Wirral Grammar were on song at home to Birkenhead, winning impressively 55-5. Meanwhile the likes of Wilmslow High School and Ellesmere College were also in good form for their victories, while Manchester Grammar won a bit of a thriller at home to Cheadle Hulme, 47-28.
Uppingham were back in action having had a bit of a gap since their last game and they were once again in good nick as they beat St Edward’s Oxford 38-5 by their famous Leicester pavilion. Elsewhere the likes of West Buckland, UCS, and an especially impressive Tiffin performance all earned victories.
One of Uppingham’s close rivals, Stamford were in fine form on a treacherous day, their social media telling the tale of a day enjoyed by many but likely hated by those in charge of the washing as they defeated St Albans 38-15 in their once pristine white kit.
RGS Colchester pulled out a result against Ipswich, 27-5, while Richard Hale, Ravens Wood, St Edward’s Cheltenham, and QEH were also on form, QEH beating Beechen Cliff’s non-AASE group my a highly impressive 36-0 margin.
Magdalen College put in one of the strongest shifts of their weekend for their 59-0 defeat of KES Southampton, and there were also excellent performances from the likes of Merchant Taylors’, Leicester Grammar, and Bolton, while Loughborough Grammar won a really tight one against Princethorpe College, 12-10.
As they have been for most of the year, Berkhamsted looking in good shape on Saturday as they saw off The Perse 29-0. The Perse’s local rivals The Leys meanwhile were on song at Bishop’s Stortford High, while Colfe’s, Culford, and Churcher’s College all picked up very strong victories. KES Stratford were also in top nick, defeating RGS Worcester 36-7.
RGS High Wycombe have enjoyed some of the most noteworthy performances and results of this school season and on Saturday they pulled off another excellent result in testing confitions to beat Solihll 19-10. Things were ever closer in Coventry though, where King Henry VIII beat Wellingborough 9-8, and there were similarly tight victories for Emanuel, Sir Joseph Williamson’s, and in Scotland George Heriot’s.
Staying in Scotland, the excellent Stewart’s Melville were again in good form for a 28-12 defeat of Glasgow Academy, while Strathallan won at home to Marr College, and Kelvinside defeated Balfron. Meanwhile in Wales Christ College were outstanding, beating Plymouth College by a highly impressive 24-0 margin.
King’s College Taunton enjoyed a fine victory at their Somerset home against Kingswood, a well-contested 12-7 effort. Isleworth & Syon’s excellent season stayed on track, they won 19-17 at Gunnersbury. In Kent Judd defeated Langley Park 10-0, while Reading Blue Coat were in action at St George’s College in Weybridge, winning 8-0 in another tight one. St George’s great rivals, Reed’s, were in winning form, they defeated a tricky Wimbledon College side 22-10.
City of London Freemen’s, meanwhile, travelled to Portsmouth Grammar and came away with an impressive 29-6 victory. Skinners’ meanwhile won a tight game at Trinity 17-14, while Aylesbury Grammar were at Watford Grammar and secured a 28-7 victory to continue what has been a strong campaign.
In North section of the schools rugby country, Hymers College saw off Birkdale 29-10, while Grammar School at Leeds were engaged in a bit of a thriller at Stockport Grammar but came out on top with a 43-28 victory.
Dame Allan’s meanwhile hosted the Tom Burrows Cup. Despite some truly awful conditions the tournament was thankfully able to take place, with each of the sides appearing to thoroughly enjoy themselves. It was Newcastle School for Boys and Silcoates that made the final, with Newcastle School for Boys ending a very good day on top with a 10-0 victory.
George Watson’s College reached the Scottish Schools Cup final at Murrayfield with an outstanding performance on Friday night at Myreside against Edinburgh Academy, winning 44-8.
Meanwhile in England Hurstpierpoint College and Eltham College enjoyed a fantastic game under the light, with Hurstpierpoint coming out on top, 38-20. King’s Gloucester secured a 24-14 victory over Katharine Lady Berkeley’s, while Norwich were again in good form, they beat Wymondham College 38-12.
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Schools Rugby Weekend Results – Saturday 23rd November:
Brighton College 8-0 John Fisher
Bristol GS 21-5 Blundell’s
Marlborough College 7-16 Bishop Wordsworth’s
QEGS Wakefield 0-40 Denstone College
RGS Newcastle 10-19 Lancaster RGS
Rugby 12-18 Warwick
St John’s, Leatherhead 29-18 KCS Wimbledon
Stowe 7-47 Bromsgrove
Tonbridge 17-14 Dulwich College
Whitgift 18-23 Millfield
AKS Lytham 5-34 Bolton
Ashville College 21-0 Bradford GS
Berkhamsted 29-0 The Perse
Birkdale 10-29 Hymers College
Bishop’s Stortford HS 12-32 The Leys
Christ College 24-0 Plymouth College
Colfe’s 41-5 Coopers’ Coborn
Culford 34-0 Wisbech GS
Dundee HS 5-7 George Heriot’s
Gunnersbury 17-19 Isleworth & Syon
Halliford 0-50 Churcher’s College
Kelvinside Academy 53-10 Balfron HS
KES Stratford 36-7 RGS Worcester
King Henry VIII, Coventry 9-8 Wellingborough
King’s Canterbury 7-8 Sir Joseph Williamson’s
King’s College, Taunton 12-7 Kingswood
Langley Park 0-10 Judd
Latymer Upper 6-7 Emanuel
Leicester GS 31-3 Nottingham HS
London Oratory 3-19 Merchant Taylors’
Loughborough GS 12-10 Princethorpe College
Magdalen College 59-0 KES Southampton
Manchester GS 47-28 Cheadle Hulme
Portsmouth GS 6-29 City of London Freemen’s
QEH 36-0 Beechen Cliff 2nd XV
Ravens Wood 29-13 Cranbrook
RGS Colchester 27-5 Ipswich
RGS High Wycombe 19-10 Solihill
Richard Hale 26-7 Bedford Modern
Rydal Penrhos 5-40 Ellesmere College
Stamford 38-15 St Albans
Stewart’s Melville 28-12 Glasgow Academy
St Edward’s, Cheltenham 29-5 Rendcomb College
St George’s College, Weybridge 0-8 Reading Blue Coat
Stockport GS 28-43 Grammar School at Leeds
Strathallan 29-15 Marr College
Tiffin 45-0 Cobham International
Trinity 14-17 Skinners’
UCS 24-10 St Benedict’s
Uppingham 38-5 St Edward’s, Oxford
Watford GS 7-28 Aylesbury GS
Wellington 7-8 West Buckland
Wilmslow HS 43-17 Calday Grange GS
Wimbledon College 10-22 Reed’s
Wirral GS 55-5 Birkenhead
Woodhouse Grove 6-7 Mount St Mary’s College
Tom Burrows Cup – Newcastle School for Boys, 10-0 v Silcoates in final
Eltham College 20-38 Hurstpierpoint College
George Watson’s College 44-8 Edinburgh Academy (Scottish Schools Cup SF)
Katharine Lady Berkeley’s 14-24 King’s Gloucester
Norwich 38-12 Wymondham College
Still to Come
Crossley Heath v Queen Ethelburga’s
Dartford GS v Campion
Haberdashers’ v St George’s, Harpenden
Merchant Taylors’ v St Ambrose College
Queen’s College, Taunton v Shebbear College
St Edmund’s College v QES Barnet
St Olave’s GS v Maidstone GS