After a massive week of rugby, the weekend rolled through quickly and produced some stunning school rugby from across the country.
It all began with a bumper fixture list on Friday, which included our live game between Warwick and Denstone College (highlights of which you can see below), before moving through to a superb Saturday. The fixture list was thinner than in previous weeks, which many boarding schools on exeat – hence the busy midweek, but the rugby was no less enthralling.
Ten to Watch
Our Ten to Watch certainly lived up to the billing, with fantastic games and some stunning results thrown into the mix to. Our readers were on form, predicting 8 out of 10 games correctly, and the only two that were predicted incorrectly were the two closest games of the lot – clearly an expert audience is building!
The Ten to Watch games started on Friday up at Wharfdale RFC where Sedbergh hosted Woodhouse Grove. Last week Woodhouse Grove had excelled on our live stream against Barnard Castle, and they gave an awesome account of themselves against the men in brown. Ultimately though, Sedbergh once more proved that they have another extraordinary group of young men as they sealed a 33-13 victory. A result made all the more remarkable as a series of cancellations meant their first game had not been until Monday and then they had this quick four day turnaround, but they fulfilled the expectations of a staggering 95% of our readers.
The other Friday night game in our Ten to Watch was our live stream of Warwick and Denstone College. It was an extraordinary atmosphere at Warwick, when is it ever not, and could really have gone either way. However Denstone College’s maul really came into its own in the second half and through it they secured the platform for a penalty try and then, ultimately, the match sealing try as they made huge ground before releasing their backs with barely any time on the clock at all. 72% of readers predicted victory for Warwick, and they could so easily have been right were it not for a couple of missed chances and some wonderful defensive work from Denstone openside George Perkins, but few will sleep on Denstone from this point.
Brighton College bounced back brilliantly after back to back defeats to justify the support of 55% of readers with a superb 37-0 victory at home to Dulwich College. It will be a tough one for Dulwich to take in the wake of last week’s defeat to Harrow, but for Brighton College, a side with such promise, it will be a huge confidence boost as they look ahead to a busy and exciting few weeks before half term.
Prior to the weekend, we said that Bromsgrove v Berkhamsted was going to be huge, not just because of what we would learn about each of these sides, but also the sides they have faced. 71% of readers though Berkhamsted would build on their dominant victory over Abingdon the week before, and so it proved as they beat Bromsgrove 22-3 away from home. Berkhamsted are clearly an outfit that are worth paying serious attention to. So too are Stowe though, who beat Bromsgrove in similar fashion last time out, and by association we can say that Abingdon need not panic too much, they clearly faced an outstanding side last time. As for Bromsgrove, two defeats on the spin will be hard to take, but in Berkhamsted and Stowe, they have faced two early-season leaders.
A staggering 97% of readers thought that Epsom College would come out on top against Reed’s on Saturday and they were proved comprehensively correct as Epsom College secured a 53-0 victory, their third victory from three and by far their most comprehensive. With a fixture list that seems to just ramp up and up and up in difficulty over the next couple of months, it was a huge marker to put down. For Reed’s it’s another tough result, but they should take heart in knowing that they have tested themselves hard and will reap the benefits in later games.
Kirkham Grammar School were another side that were in utterly dominant form as they saw off Lancaster RGS 47-0, justifying the heavy faith of 86% of our readers. Kirkham are, as ever, looking so strong and yet every time a performance of this level is put in it still jumps off the page. With the St Joseph’s Festival coming in just a few short weeks, they must be among the favourites already. LRGS will not lose heart though, this game was always going to be a challenge but it will have exposed them to an intensity that will serve them well in the weeks to come.
RGS High Wycombe and Hampton had met in a triangular at Abingdon on the opening weekend of the season. RGS had won that one narrowly, albeit with shortened game lengths, but 70% of you still thought that Hampton would turn that around in this 70 minutes fixture. So it proved as Hampton took a close-fought game 21-12. It leaves Hampton heading into their Schools Cup encounter with the phenomenally in form KCS Wimbledon with plenty of form and confidence themselves.
A game that looked great on paper was St Peter’s York v QEGS Wakefield, two big names in Yorkshire schools rugby and two sides so often well matched in recent times. 63% of readers were backing St Peter’s at home, and they were proved right with a fantastic performance from the home side as they secured a 33-7 victory, their first of the season after two challenging opponents in their first two games.
Wellington College are once again demonstrating that they are surely one of the very best teams in the country. On Saturday they hosted Seaford College, a side that our cameras have now seen twice live and that possess plenty of threats. They threatened Wellington College plenty, but the home side just had too much once again as they secured a 29-12 victory, in line with the expectations of 87% of our readers. With Dulwich, Millfield, and the defence of their St Joseph’s Festival title to come in the next three weeks, it was yet another momentum building victory for Wellington, their third from three this season.
Last week it was Whitgift that Wellington College saw off, and the Croydon side had another massive test on Saturday when they hosted Harrow, one of the most in form sides in the country on Saturday. What unfolded was nothing less than the highest level game of the weekend. Two sides that could barely be separated and that were playing with ridiculous level intensity, with huge physicality throughout. Only one score separated them, a breakaway try from Whitgift after a massive defensive set in the opening minutes. From there the try lines remained unbreached as these two top sides gave it absolutely everything in one of the most intense games of the season. 64% of our readers backed Harrow for the win, they ended up on the wrong side with that prediction, but it was a game that truly could have swung either way.
Friday 24th September
As well as the two games in our Ten to Watch, Friday was a stacked day and night with some extraordinary rugby played throughout. Perhaps by no-one more so than KCS Wimbledon, who are fast becoming one of the most talked about sides this season. For the third game out of three they went past the fifty point mark, this time against St George’s College Weybridge, and this time by their biggest margin so far, 64-0. It has been a remarkable opening three weeks, and they could not be better prepared as they enter a period up to half term that will be season defining, a massive Cup game against Hampton, before facing local rivals Wimbledon College, and then their toughest game of the season on paper before they head for half term, Cranleigh away. How they fare in those three will be the big test for KCS, who are looking outstanding.
They also face Trinity soon after half term and the Croydon outfit were also in action on Friday night with another fantastic performance against Langley Park as they sealed a 29-0 victory.
Elsewhere Monmouth were on outstanding form, too, they beat St Peter’s Gloucester 36-0 in yet another sign that the Welsh outfit are a side to keep an eye on, their third victory on the spin after beating Old Swinford Hospital and Cheltenham College in their opening two. Lymm High School were also victorious, beating Wilmslow High on Friday night, however no scoreline has been confirmed.
Saturday 25th September
Stamford found their feet on Saturday after a tricky run of early season games as they put in a barnstorming display to defeat Solihull 54-0, a brilliant result and not a minute too soon, with local rivals Uppingham coming up at the weekend.
Bishop Vesey’s were also in quite outstanding form as they sealed a superb 58-7 victory over Loughborough Grammar, bouncing back quite brilliantly form their narrow defeat last week. Meanwhile Bablake & King Henry VIII continue to impress, this time in a narrow game against Princethorpe College, where they emerged the victors, 15-12. In North Wales Oswestry were in form, beating Rydal Penrhos 40-17 away from home.
Bloxham also looked in strong form after an enforced couple of cancellations, beating Bedford Modern 26-0, while in the Oxford derby Magdalen College mounted a quite outstanding second half comeback to seal a 24-13 victory away at St Edward’s Oxford, their physicality in the second half earning the rewards.
Aylesbury Grammar won a thriller at Pangbourne College, 28-21, while Windsor Boys were on form for a 33-12 hope victory over Latymer Upper. One of the top performances of the day though was a brilliant 40-15 effort from Old Swinford Hospital against Ellesmere College.
As so often this year, Hertfordshire yielded some big performances, not least at St George’s Harpdenden, where they beat London Oratory 19-0, London Oratory will be on our live stream this Friday when they take on namesake’s The Oratory. Elsewhere UCS enjoyed an impressive 24-11 victory at QES Barnet, while Mill Hill continue to impress, beating Haberdashers’ 38-0.
Norwich were in fine form away at Bishop’s Stortford College as they sealed a 38-15 victory and a strong performance, similarly St Benedict’s at St Albans, winning 29-10.
Northampton School for Boys were rampant at home to Campion, winning 58-5, their third victory in four games. Making it three from three were Royal Hospital School in Suffolk, who put in probably their performance of the season for a 41-0 home win over an RGS Colchester side that have been causing problems. One such side they caused problems to were St Joseph’s College, but the Ipswich side came through that test and came through another on Saturday for a 17-12 victory at New Hall, their third from three. Meanwhile in Cambridge, Wisbech Grammar played well for a 16-10 victory over King’s Ely.
In London there were some absolutely outstanding performances, not least from RGS Guildford who travelled in to Emanuel and came home with a quite brilliant 47-10 victory. There was a good win on the road from Halliford, who beat Tiffin 15-5 and are looking like they are in serious form this year.
Gravesend Grammar host St Olave’s Grammar and enjoyed a tight 12-5 victory, while Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar had a thrilling 31-24 victory over Rochester Grammar. Nothing was as close as City of London Freemen’s v Eltham College though, which ended in a tense 21-21 draw.
Elsewhere John Fisher were impressive at home against Wimbledon College as they secured a vital 29-15 victory, while Grey Court won 33-21 at Claremont Fan Court. Over in Kent Reigate Grammar won a really tight one against Caterham, 17-14. Meanwhile Wallington County Grammar won 20-5 at Dartford Grammar, a seriously impressive result.
Also in Kent, The Judd were in truly outstanding for as they saw off the challenge of Ravens Wood in ruthless style, winning 51-10, while Skinners’ were also pretty ruthless, beating Maidstone Grammar with a strong 28-0 score line.
Hurstpierpoint College also claimed victory in a brilliant game, they were in Surrey against St John’s Leatherhead and a fantastically close battle ensued, but it was the Sussex outfit that were to come out on top, 14-10.
Meanwhile on the South Coast Churcher’s College were utterly outstanding, condemning Portsmouth Grammar to a 53-0, baking up their 57-3 victory in the Vase just a fortnight ago. Along the coast, KES Southampton were involved in a thriller at home to Lord Wandsworth College, ending on the right end of a result that could have gone either way, 30-27.
The South West, as ever, have some absolutely brilliant games, and in Gloucester there was a thriller between Sir Thomas Rich’s and King’s Worcester, which the visitors won 15-12 after a serious contes. Local rivals RGS Worcester were also in good form away in Gloucestershire, beating Pate’s Grammar 18-5 away from home.
There were far from the only impressive performances away from home, not least as far South West as there was on Saturday when Blundell’s travelled to Truro School and returned home with an outstanding 48-5 away win in their back pocked. It was a similar tale for Exeter School, who travelled to Plymouth College and returned with a brilliant 43-14 victory, while Mount Kelly won 23-17 in a thriller at Kingswood. Clifton High, meanwhile, were on peak form at Bristol Cathedral School as they sealed a 45-5 victory.
There were some outstanding home performances in the area too though, not least a stunning performance from West Buckland against Queen’s College Taunton, where they sealed a 52-0 victory. Things were closer between Wellington School and King’s College Taunton, but it was Wellington that just edged it, 17-15. Taunton School did get a victory for Taunton though, at home in a cracking contest against QEH, where they sealed a 15-12 win. Bryanston, meanwhile were making great strides at home to Clayesmore as they secured a 33-3 victory.
In the North East Dame Allan’s found some great form after a close fought defeat to Ampleforth last time out, beating Austin Friars 33-12, with Newcastle Falcons U18s Charlie Smith, Will Jobling, and Dan Neill all particularly influential. They now gear up for a home Cup tie against Durham on Wednesday, who themselves arrive in good form after an impressive 17-7 victory over Newcastle School for Boys, who have been strong in recent times.
In Yorkshire Hymers College put in probably their performance of the season as they beat Bradford Grammar 38-7, a result that will leave the home side bursting with confidence. Meanwhile there was close game in Harrogate as away side Pocklington claimed a 15-10 victory over Ashville College.
Over in the North West one of the performances of the day was a stunning 40-5 effort away at Bolton from Manchester Grammar School. Things were much closer in many of the other games, with King’s Macclesfield sealing a close 10-5 win over Merchant Taylors’ and St Abrose College winning in exactly the same score away at Stockport Grammar.
Wirral Grammar’s fine fun of form continued with a strong 26-12 victory at home against St Anselm’s College, and it was similar on the road for Cheadle Hulme, who beat Sandbach 15-10.
It was a fairly quiet day in Scotland, but what rugby there was on was of a high level. Not least between two of the giants of the school game as Stewart’s Melville travelled to George Watson’s College for an absolute thriller that was packed full of tension, ending up 17-14 in favour of the away side. Meanwhile in another heavyweight clash, Dollar Academy won another incredibly close clash, they were at home to Strathallan and just managed to seal a 22-19 victory. Edinburgh Academy meanwhile beat Dundee High School 24-14.
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 email@example.com and if you are interested in us live streaming one of your games or an event then please do get in touch!
Friday 24th September
KCS Wimbledon 64-0 St George’s College, Weybridge
Langley Park 0-29 Trinity
Monmouth 36-0 St Peter’s Gloucester
Sedbergh 33-13 Woodhouse Grove
Warwick 12-21 Denstone College
Saturday 25th September
Ashville Harrogate 10-15 Pocklington
Bablake & King Henry VIII, Coventry 15-12 Princethorpe College
Bishop Vesey’s Grammar 58-7 Loughborough Grammar
Bishop’s Stortford College 15-38 Norwich
Bloxham 26-0 Bedford Modern
Bolton 5-40 Manchester Grammar
Brighton College 37-0 Dulwich College
Bristol Cathedral School 5-45 Clifton High
Bromsgrove 3-22 Berkhamsted
Bryanston 33-3 Clayesmore
Caterham 14-17 Reigate Grammar
Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar 31-24 Rochester GS
City of London Freemen’s 21-21 Eltham College
Claremont Fan Court 21-33 Grey Court
Dame Allan’s 33-12 Austin Friars
Dartford Grammar 5-20 Wallington County Grammar
Dollar Academy 22-19 Strathallan
Durham 17-7 Newcastle School for Boys
Edinburgh Academy 34-14 Dundee High
Emanuel 10-47 RGS Guildford
Epsom College 53-0 Reed’s
George Watson’s College 14-17 Stewart’s Melville
Gravesend Grammar 12-5 St Olave’s Grammar
Hymers College 38-7 Bradford Grammar
John Fisher 29-15 Wimbledon College
KES Southampton 30-27 Lord Wandsworth College
King’s Ely 10-16 Wisbech Grammar
King’s Macclesfield 10-5 Merchant Taylors’, Crosby
Kingswood 17-23 Mount Kelly
Kirkham Grammar 47-0 Lancaster RGS
Mill Hill 38-0 Haberdashers’
New Hall 12-17 St Joseph’s College
Northampton School for Boys 58-5 Campion
Old Swinford Hospital 40-15 Ellesmere College
Pangbourne College 21-28 Aylesbury Grammar
Pate’s Grammar 5-18 RGS Worcester
Plymouth College 14-43 Exeter School
Portsmouth Grammar 0-53 Churcher’s College
QES Barnet 11-24 UCS
RGS High Wycombe 12-21 Hampton
Royal Hospital School 41-0 RGS Colchester
Rydal Penrhos 17-40 Oswestry
Sandbach 7-26 Cheadle Hulme
Sir Thomas Rich’s 12-15 King’s Worcester
Skinners’ 28-0 Maidstone Grammar
St Albans 10-29 St Benedict’s
St Edward’s, Oxford 13-24 Magdalen College
St George’s Harpenden 19-0 London Oratory
St John’s, Leatherhead 10-14 Hurstpierpoint College
St Peter’s, York 33-7 QEGS Wakefield
Stamford 54-0 Solihull
Stockport Grammar 10-15 St Ambrose College
Taunton 15-12 QEH
The Judd 52-10 Ravens Wood
Tiffin 5-15 Halliford
Truro 5-48 Blundell’s
Wellington College 29-12 Seaford College
Wellington School 17-15 King’s College, Taunton
West Buckland 52-0 Queen’s College, Taunton
Whitgift 7-0 Harrow
Windsor Boys 33-12 Latymer Upper
Wirral Grammar 26-12 St Anselm’s College
Still to Come:
Coopers’ Coborn v Richard Hale
St Columba’s v Morrison’s Academy
Wilmslow High v Lymm High – Lymm Win