In previewing this season, we said it would be unpredictable early on but we certainly were not braced for just how unpredictable things might turn out to be.
However we were certainly reminded of that this weekend as a number of sides put in some extraordinary performances to earn results that flew in the face of pre-pandemic wisdom – what a difference a season and half’s absence can make.
Ten to Watch
Our Ten to Watch quickly became Nine to Watch as Sedbergh v RGS Newcastle was sadly called off, Sedbergh play Queen Ethelburga’s early in the week to make up for that lost fixture.
It showed how unpredictable the weekend’s result were though that after an 80% success rate on predictions last week, our readers managed just five out of nine correct predictions this week.
The Ten to Watch began on Friday night with out live streaming of Seaford College v RGS High Wycombe, a game that 51% of readers predicted would go the way of the visitors but in fact went 34-20 in favour of Seaford College who not only looked massive, but also high on quality. As their penalty count improves, as rustiness fades away, they have the look of a side that could really go well this year as they scored some wonderful tries, which you can see below. RGS will be gutted, but with 5 members of their pack to return from injury, they will bounce back. Seaford meanwhile are going to be heading into Wednesday’s live stream game against Haileybury with massive confidence.
Onto Saturday and our second live stream of the weekend with Barnard Castle’s trip down to Woodhouse Grove. Barnard Castle were your 74% favourites, but it was the home side that edged what was a tremendous and busy occasion as they secured a 17-12 victory and a performance that really felt like a marker as to their quality this year. Both sides looked as though, as you can watch below, they are going to have strong seasons ahead of them and will surely be in the mix at the business end of the season.
Elsewhere, Stowe built on the promising start against Stamford last week with a brilliant 20-5 victory away from home at Bromsgrove, whom 57% of you had predicted to win. Two big scalps in two weeks for Stowe suggest that they really are firing high this season and it is going to make plenty of teams sit up and take notice.
One side that everyone was already on high alert about was Harrow and they are more than delivering on expectations. They travelled to Dulwich College on Saturday and while they went in as your 69% favourites, what few could have expected was the astonishing level of performance that they put in to seal a quite remarkable 47-7 victory away on the road. Dulwich will bounce back, few sides will be as tough as Harrow this year, but for Harrow it was a major statement of what they can do.
Epsom College also got the backing of 69% of you, and it was another that readers guessed correctly on, however it was an incredibly tight game against St Paul’s. The two sides could only be separated by three points, with Epsom College just edging it 25-22 to make it two from two at the start of this season.
Another side that make it two from two are Radley College. Radley were impressive in the opening weekend against Marlborough College, but on Saturday 84% of you threw your weight behind their opponents, Sherborne, in their opening game of the year. A brilliantly competitive game ensued, but it was Radley that emerged on top, 16-8, and they will head into this week’s derby against St Edward’s absolutely bursting with confidence – especially given the quality that resides within the Sherborne ranks.
Rugby v Bedford was one that we were really excited about, Bedford had impressed so much in the opening week, while Rugby had been strong in victory away at Oakham. We were expecting something close, but 70% of you got behind Rugby School and how right the readers were as Rugby put in a truly extraordinary performance for a quite stunning 59-7 victory that marks Rugby out as a side that we must all keep tabs on this year, and that also reflects rather well on Oakham, who held them far closer last week.
Warwick travelled to Uppingham on Saturday and a cracking game broke out between two well matched sides. 62% of you back Warwick and that was reflected in the score, which was a pretty close 15-10 victory for Warwick, who will now be looking ahead with real excitement to Friday’s live streamed game against Denstone College.
One of the biggest games of the weekend, without doubt, was Wellington College v Whitgift, two of the biggest names in all of schools rugby going head to head. It was the five year anniversary of the Seb Adeniran-Olule game, which you can learn more about on @SebsFoundation. Seb was a former pupil of both schools, who played for England at age-grade level before his tragic passing. Both schools did him proud in a fantastic game of rugby that saw Wellington College meet the expectations of 68% of our readers with a 26-12 victory that included four tries, through O’Byrne, Arbuthnot-Whittaker, Springett, and the superb Finn Tawse, and extended their extraordinary unbeaten home run. No side has beaten Wellington College on Bigside since Harrow in November 2017, a quite remarkable record.
Friday 17th September
It was not just our live streamed game on Friday, there was some fantastic rugby elsewhere, not least at Esher RFC where Brighton College and Hampton went head to head. It was a good game of rugby, full of attacking endeavour, but it was Hampton that just found the edge as the game went on to secure an impressive 29-14 victory.
Meanwhile Clifton College were in action at home to Welsh giants Llandovery College, and sealed the Anglo-Welsh clash in some style thanks to a 22-10 victory that leaves them on two wins from two at this early stage in the year.
Saturday 18th September
Saturday was just an extraordinary day, perhaps nowhere more so than at Berkhamsted where they were on fire against Abingdon. If their TV adverts weren’t working on recruitment then this result certainly will have as they put in an absolutely stunning display for a 54-0 victory.
Sutton Valence were in even greater try scoring form as they put in an epic display away from home at Brentwood for a 71-0 victory. Stunning stuff.
There were a number other utterly sublime performances, among them Wirral Grammar who bounced back from disappointment last week for a sensational 67-5 defeat of Stockport Grammar. Stonyhurst College were also outrageously good, they faced Bradford Grammar and secured a brilliant 45-0 victory. Similarly St Anselm’s College who were 49-0 victors at home to Birkenhead.
Indeed the whole region saw some outstanding displays, Mount St Mary’s College were in epic form away at Pocklington, defeating their hosts 55-5 away from home. Giggleswick won 24-0 at home to Ashville College, while Manchester Grammar saw off Merchant Taylors’ 31-5, AKS Lytham, too, beating Altrincham Grammar 38-0 away from home.
There were some close games though, not least at Ampleforth College were the hosts held off a really spirited Dame Allan’s side to maintain their unbeaten start with a 31-27 victory. Grammar School at Leeds meanwhile won 26-14 at Cheadle Hulme.
There were contrasting results for two of Yorkshire’s finest, QEGS Wakefield winning 34-10 against King’s Macclesfield, while St Peter’s York went down 27-8 to an Oakham side that bounced back brilliantly from defeat the week before.
Slightly further South there were some brilliant games too, not least at Princethorpe College where Leicester Grammar made it through to the second round of the Schools Vase in Midlands A by winning the most tense of games, 18-17.
Bablake meanwhile were on song once again, the merge with King Henry’s clearly proving fruitful as they won 40-5 at Nottingham High, while Trent College put in a strong display at Loughborough Grammar for a 33-12 victory.
Denstone College won a really close game against Stamford, these two met back in the May window, coming home with a 21-17 victory to fill them with confidence ahead of Friday night’s encounter.
Over on the West side of the county KES Stratford had a stunning 43-0 victory over rivals KES Birmingham, while RGS Worcester won an incredibly tight game against Bishop Vesey’s, 12-6. Northampton School for Boys bounced back wonderfully from their tricky opening day defeat to Wellington College with another away game but this time with the result in their favour, winning 35-15 at Solihill.
Across in Hertfordshire there was a thrilling battle between Haileybury and Oundle, aschoolboy fixture with a long and illustrious history that has featured the likes of the Curry brothers, Nick Isiekwe, and Kapeli Pifiletti. Oundle started strongly and put together some great rugby but Haileybury fought back and had a few kickable penalties they tried to run but made errors in doing so. It was 7-6 to Oundle at the half, Oundle scoring a converted try either side of penalties from Hoyes and Spencer. In the second half Haileybury played cleverly and spencer landed another penalty to hand them the lead. It was a ding dong battle with both teams giving everything but not quite having the killer touch to finish things off. Eventually, the outstanding Sam Aylwin at Number 8 carried from a scrum and gave a superb offload to the equally outstanding Tim Hayes to cross with Spencer adding the extras for a 16-7 lead for the home side, however Oundle, again capitalising on mistakes from the home side, scored again for a nervous 16-14 finish the game.
Meanwhile Mill Hill were quite simply sensational as they beat Bishop’s Stortford College 51-12, with Bedford Modern also on form for a 29-5 victory. Meanwhile St George’s Harpenden won a close one with Richard Hale, 14-10, and Haberdashers’ saw off Bancroft’s 33-14.
There were some extraordinary performances in further into East Anglia too, not least from Ipswich, who continue impress. They beat Samuel Whitbread Academy by a quite remarkable 64-17 margin, a real statement from this side that are looking very very good indeed. RGS Colchester are also putting in strong performances, they beat Framlingham College 45-12, while Gresham’s travelled to Cambridge and beat The Leys 34-5, with Wisbech Grammar beating Culford 38-12.
Another of the highly impressive results in the area was Royal Hospital School’s 36-5 victory over The Perse. Local rivals St Joseph’s College were again embroiled in a close and high scoring game of rugby as they beat Norwich 38-30.
The South Coast saw some brilliant performances, not least The Oratory winning a thriller at KES Southampton 55-37, a bonkers but brilliant game. Across in Kent King’s Canterbury beat Caterham 24-7,Churcher’s College meanwhile were impressive in a 27-5 victory over Gordon’s, while Tonbridge’s 2nd XV showed their quality with a 30-20 victory at Eastbourne College.
Their 1st XV were also in good form once again, continuing their strong start Tonbridge beat The Judd 21-13 away from home. That was one of a number of good away wins in the South East, among them a 29-19 away win for Langley Park at Dartford Grammar, and Cranbrook sealing a 35-12 triumph at Ravens Wood along with a quite fantastic 35-0 victory for St Benedict’s at St George’s Weybridge.
Continuing that trend were Windsor Boys, 16-7 at Isleworth & Syon, while RGS Guildford impressed for a 21-10 victory at Wimbledon College. Local rivals KCS Wimbledon were once again in utterly outstanding form in the early stages of this season. They defeated London Oratory by a quite remarkable 53-7 margin.
Elsewhere they were home wins for Worth and Tiffin over Sevenoaks and Emanuel respectively, while St Ignatius College did brilliantly to see of King’s Ely 17-10. Meanwhile Reigate Grammar did well too for a 22-15 victory over Wallington County Grammar.
Cranleigh made it back to back victories with a 30-26 thriller against Trinity, while Reed’s bounced back superbly from opening day disappointment to defeat Hurstpierpoint College 2012. Cardinal Vaughan meanwhile beat Latymer Upper 22-5.
It was a thriller in Croydon, where John Fisher edged Skinners’ 30-26, while one of the contests of the day saw St John’s Leatherhead host Felsted, where the hosts just had the edge in a 15-14 game.
Further West, Eton College made it two out of two with a very solid 20-12 victory over Marlborough College, while St Edward’s Oxford enjoyed an impressive 21-12 away victory at Pangbourne College. Reading Blue Coat again impressed, winning a very tight game at Shiplake College thanks to some very reliable kicking, 9-5.
Even further West Colston’s underlined their status as a side to pay attention to thanks to a 45-12 victory over Malvern College, while Canford were utterly outstanding at home to Portsmouth Grammar with a 52-14 stunner.
Mount Kelly hosted a triangular, beating Truro School and Wellington School to top the three-team table. Things were close at Plymouth College, with the homes side beating Queen’s College Taunton 12-10. Clifton College’s 2nd XV, meanwhile, came oh so close to emulating their 1st XV’s victory on Friday night, they ran Old Swinford Hospital close, but it was OSH that can out on top, 33-31.
Kirkham Grammar School made the trip down to Sir Thomas Rich’s and were rewarded for their long journey with a fantastic performance and a 20-10 victory. Pate’s Grammar meanwhile saw off Hereford Cathedral 22-5, and Taunton School won 12-7 away at Prior Park College, with QEH winning 24-3 at home to Exeter School.
There were a couple of Anglo-Welsh games too, ending in the honours being shared evenly nationally.Monmouth made the trip to Cheltenham College and returned with a hugely impressive 29-3 victory, while Cathedral School Llandaff headed to King’s College Taunton. The hosts held out in that one for a 29-19 victory. Elsewhere Bristol Grammar impressed with a 38-17 win over Kingswood, while Downside continue to impress, beating Bryanston 20-12.
In Scotland, Robert Gordon’s College were again on fire, beating Ellon Academy 67-10, and Edinburgh Academy were almost as impressive, winning 62-7 at home to Bell Baxter. Similarly, Hutchesons’ Grammar headed to Glasgow High and won 45-0.
Things were closer between Strathallan and Perthshire RFC, Strathallan were still in control though for a 31-10 victory, while elsewhere Dundee High beat Morrison’s Academy 38-12, and Glasgow Academy saw off Kelvinside Academy 24-12.
If you have any photos, video, reports, or any other content from the weekend’s school rugby then please do send it in via our social media channels or firstname.lastname@example.org and if you are interested in us live streaming one of your games or an event then please do get in touch!
Friday 17th September
Brighton College 14-29 Hampton
Clifton College 22-10 Llandovery College
Seaford College 34-20 RGS High Wycombe
Saturday 18th September
Altrincham Grammar 0-38 AKS Lytham
Ampleforth College 31-27 Dame Allan’s
Bedford Modern 29-5 QES, Barnet
Berkhamsted 54-0 Abingdon
Brentwood 0-71 Sutton Valence
Bromsgrove 5-20 Stowe
Canford 52-14 Portsmouth Grammar
Cardinal Vaughan 22-5 Latymer Upper
Cheadle Hulme 14-26 Grammar School at Leeds
Cheltenham College 3-29 Monmouth
Churcher’s College 27-5 Gordon’s
Clifton College 2nd XV 31-33 Old Swinford Hospital
Colston’s 45-12 Malvern College
Cranleigh 30-26 Trinity
Dartford Grammar 19-29 Langley Park
Downside 20-12 Bryanston
Dulwich College 7-47 Harrow
Dundee High 38-12 Morrison’s Academy
Eastbourne College 20-30 Tonbridge 2nd XV
Edinburgh Academy 62-7 Bell Baxter
Epsom College 25-22 St Paul’s
Eton College 20-12 Marlborough College
Framlingham College 12-45 RGS Colchester
Giggleswick 24-0 Ashville College
Glasgow High 0-45 Hutchesons’ Grammar
Haberdashers’ 33-14 Bancroft’s
Haileybury 16-14 Oundle
Ipswich 64-17 Samuel Whitbread Academy
Isleworth & Syon 7-16 Windsor Boys’
John Fisher 30-26 Skinners’
KCS Wimbledon 53-7 London Oratory
Kelvinside Academy 12-24 Glasgow Academy
KES Southampton 37-55 The Oratory
KES Stratford 43-0 KES Birmingham
King’s Canterbury 24-7 Caterham
King’s College, Taunton 29-19 Cathedral School, Llandaff
Kingswood 17-38 Bristol Grammar
Loughborough Grammar 12-33 Trent College
Manchester Grammar 31-5 Merchant Taylors’, Crosby
Mill Hill 51-12 Bishop’s Stortford College
Mount Kelly Triangular: Mount Kelly 5-3 Truro School, Wellington School 0-7 Mount Kelly, Wellington School 0-0 Truro School
Nottingham High 5-40 Bablake & King Henry VIII
Pangbourne College 12-21 St Edward’s, Oxford
Pate’s Grammar 22-5 Hereford Cathedral
Plymouth College 12-10 Queen’s College, Taunton
Pocklington 5-55 Mount St Mary’s College
Princethorpe College 17-18 Leicester Grammar (Schools Vase) Midlands A
Prior Park College 7-12 Taunton
QEGS Wakefield 34-10 King’s Macclesfield
QEH 24-3 Exeter School
Radley College 16-8 Sherborne
Ravens Wood 12-35 Cranbrook
Reed’s 20-12 Hurstpierpoint College
Reigate Grammar 22-15 Wallington County Grammar
RGS Worcester 12-6 Bishop Vesey’s Grammar
Robert Gordon’s College 67-10 Ellon Academy
Royal Hospital School 36-5 The Perse
Rugby 59-7 Bedford
Shiplake College 5-9 Reading Blue Coat
Sir Thomas Rich’s 10-20 Kirkham Grammar
Solihull 15-35 Northampton School for Boys
St Anselm’s College 49-0 Birkenhead
St George’s College, Weybridge 0-35 St Benedict’s
St George’s Harpenden 14-10 Richard Hale
St Ignatius College 17-10 King’s Ely
St John’s, Leatherhead 15-14 Felsted
St Joseph’s College 38-30 Norwich
St Peter’s, York 8-27 Oakham
Stamford 17-21 Denstone College
Stonyhurst College 45-0 Bradford Grammar
Strathallan 31-10 Perthshire RFC
The Judd 13-21 Tonbridge
The Leys 5-34 Gresham’s
Tiffin 26-20 Emanuel
Uppingham 10-15 Warwick
Wellington College 24-12 Whitgift
Wimbledon College 10-21 RGS Guildford
Wirral Grammar 67-5 Stockport Grammar
Wisbech Grammar 38-12 Culford
Woodhouse Grove 17-12 Barnard Castle
Worth 27-10 Sevenoaks
Results still to come:
Colfe’s v City of London Freemen’s
Durham v Austin Friars
Glenalmond College v Fettes College
KES Bath v Dauntsey’s
Lymm High v The Grange
Millfield v Blundell’s
St Dunstan’s College v Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar
St Olave’s Grammar v Cooper’s Coborn
Wilmslow High v Ellesmere College