2020 U18 & U15 Schools Bowl Semi Final Previews

The U18 and U15 Schools Bowl semi finals all take place this week as eight schools look to emulate the success of King’s Worcester and The Judd in last year’s two competitions.

 

The Bowl sees sides that were knocked out in the opening round of the Schools Vase competitions face up, in identical regional format, with the finals this year set to take place on Tuesday 17th March, moving from Sixways Stadium, where they were in the past, to Allianz Park.

 

In the U18s both games are 2pm kick offs on Wednesday and see the two North regional winners meet, St Edward’s College and Ampleforth College, with the two London & South East sides meeting in the other, Worthing College and Maidstone Grammar.

 

Meanwhile the U15 semi finals see Marling host Warden Park on Wednesday, with Farlingaye welcoming King Henry VIII Coventry on Thursday afternoon.

 

U18 Schools Bowl Semi Finals:

 

St Edward’s College v Ampleforth College – Wednesday, 2pm

Worthing College v Maidstone Grammar – Wednesday 2pm

 

Results so far:

 

St Edward’s College (North B)

QF: 22-12 v Sandringham

Rd4: 20-3 v Birkdale

Rd3: Castle Rushen – Walkover

Rd2: 28-5 at Oswestry

Rd1: 51-10 at Birkenhead

Vase Rd1: Lost 20-12 at St Anselm’s College

 

Ampleforth College (North A)

QF: 39-10 v Royal Latin

Rd4: 56-7 at Tyne Metropolitan

Rd3: Rodillian – Walkover

Rd2: 24-3 v Harrogate GS

Rd1: Bye

Vase Rd1: Lost 20-12 v Ripon Grammar

 

Worthing College (London & South East A)

QF: 20-10 Marling

Rd4: 12-7 at Wallington County Grammar

Rd3: 48-0 at Royal Alexandra & Albert

Rd2: George Abbot – Walkover

Rd1: Bye

Vase Rd1: Lost 24-17 v Eastbourne College

 

Maidstone Grammar (London & South East B)

QF: 53-0 Windsor Boys

Rd4: 24-17 at King John

Rd3: 20-5 v Chatham & Clarendon

Rd2: 64-5 at St Dunstan’s College

Rd1: 40-0 at Oakwood Park

Vase Rd1: Lost 28-17 v Sutton Valence

 

Previews:

 

St Edward’s College v Ampleforth College – Wednesday, 2pm

 

A huge game as the two North section champions go head to head. Historically Ampleforth College are one of the biggest names in schools rugby, regular top competitors at the Rosslyn Park 7s who produced the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio and the Easterby brothers, Simon and Guy. This is their biggest game in years though, a semi final and a chance of a final at Allianz Park. Their run so far has been relatively plain sailing since their Vase knockout by Ripon Grammar – a bye and a walkover alongside strong victories over Harrogate Grammar and Tyne Metropolitan and an impressive display in the 39-10 victory over Royal Latin in the semi finals.

 

Up against them though are a St Edward’s College side from Liverpool for whom this is an equally big game, and that will have an excited and vociferous home crowd behind them. Like Ampleforth it was a 20-12 defeat that did for them in the Vase and since then things have gone fairly smoothly, strong displays over Birkendhead, Oswestry, and Birkdale helped them emerge from North B before a gutsy 22-12 victory over Sandringham to win the quarter final. It all bodes for a close game, and a historic one for both sides. Fine margins will likely make the difference here.

 

Worthing College v Maidstone Grammar – Wednesday 2pm

 

Perhaps the biggest point to make about both Worthing College and Maidstone Grammar School’s route to this final is that they could so easily have gone deep into the Vase. The sides that knocked them out of the Vase and into this Bowl competition were Eastbourne College and Sutton Valence, each in tight games. Since then Sutton Valence have reached the Vase semis and play on Sunday, the side they beat in the quarter finals – Eastbourne College.

 

So that is the caliber of team we are dealing with in Wednesday’s Bowl semi final, and Maidstone Grammar in particular have been demonstrating that throughout their Bowl campaign, only once have then conceded more than one score, in the regional final against King John. Their quarter final victory was quite simply astonishing, a 53-0 victory over Windsor Boys’, the sort of result so rarely seen at the business end of competitions and a real sign of this side’s ability. Worthing College have been excellent too though, albeit on fewer games after a bye and a walkover got their campaign started. A dominant victory followed, before two incredibly gritty victories over Wallington County Grammar and then Marling in the quarter finals. These are top teams in Bowl terms, and we could see a cracking semi final.

 

U15 Schools Bowl Semi Finals:

 

Marling v Warden Park – Wednesday, 1pm

Farlingaye v King Henry VIII, Coventry – Thursday, 2.30pm

 

Results so far:

 

Marling (South West B)

QF: 50-0 v Plymouth College

Rd4: 33-5 v Hampshire Collegiate

Rd3: 66-0 v Monkton Combe

Rd2: 56-0 v Castle School

Rd1: 50-0 at Holmleigh Park

Vase Rd1: Lost 22-14 at The Crypt

 

Warden Park (London & South East A)

QF: 19-0 at Duke of York’s Royal Military School

Rd4: 14-12 at St Benedict’s

Rd3: 50-0 at Southborough High

Rd2: 33-0 v Heathfield

Rd1: Dorothy Stringer – Walkover

Vase Rd1: Lost 17-14 at Worth

 

Farlingaye (Midlands B)

QF: 12-10 v Scarborough College

Rd 4: 26-5 at Redborne

Rd3: 24-5 at St Edmund’s College

Rd2: 47-12 at East Bergholt High

Rd1: 50-14 v City of Norwich

Vase Rd1: Lost 45-17 at Thomas Mills

 

King Henry VIII, Coventry (Midlands A)

QF: 15-0 v Calday Grange Grammar

Rd4: 26-7 at Arden Academy

Rd3: 29-10 at Prince Henry’s High

Rd2: 57-14 v Pitsford

Rd1: 12-7 at Bablake

Vase Rd1: Lost 59-7 at Ashlawn

 

Previews:

 

Marling v Warden Park – Wednesday, 1pm

 

Both of these sides were only knocked out of the Vase by fairly slender margins and since then Marling in particular have been utterly sensational. Truly. They have conceded just one try in this Bowl tournament, in a 33-5 regional final victory over Hampshire Collegiate. That was also their lowest score in this competition, where they have recorded victories of 56-0, 66-0, and 50-0 (twice), one of which was their stunning quarter final win over Plymouth College.

 

They are looking utterly formidable and at home again they will surely be hugely confident. However this is a huge game for Warden Park, whose route might not have been quite as clinical as Marling’s, but that could well stand them in good stead. A 14-12 victory at St Benedict’s to reach the quarter finals is the sort of spirited display that you need in close knockout contests. Their squad is perhaps the strongest since Harlequins’ James Chisholm led them to the 2012 U15 Cup semi finals and boasts 6 Quins Academy prospects, 5 Sussex U15s, and 2 Welsh Exiles players. Perhaps the key result though for understanding what they bring is their 27-24 defeat to Plate semi finalists John Fisher, this is a good side. Marling clearly are too, and that should make for an epic contest on Wednesday.

 

Farlingaye v King Henry VIII, Coventry – Thursday, 2.30pm

 

The Bowl action concludes on Thursday afternoon with King Henry VIII Coventry heading to Farlingaye with the two sides by then knowing who they will be meeting in the final at Allianz Park on Tuesday 17th March, with Marling and Warden Park meeting on Wednesday in advance of this game.

 

Farlingaye’s progression has been relatively smooth since their Vase exit, with strong victories over City of Norwich, East Bergholt, St Edmund’s College, and Redborne taking them through the Midlands B section. The quarter finals were a different prospect though and they had to dig oh so deep at home to Scarborough College for a 12-0 victory to seal this semi final spot. Up against them are a King Henry VIII Coventry side whose Bowl campaign kicked off in what they would surely describe as ideal fashion, a tight 12-7 victory over old rivals Bablake. Since then things have been reasonably smooth, a big win over Pitsford before good results against Prince Henry’s and Arden Academy took them into the quarter finals. There they defeat a good Calday Grange Grammar side without conceding a point, a superb effort. It should be a good matchup between these two Midlands sides, one that really could go either way.

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