This weekend saw the autumn weather come storming in as rain lashed down across the country, with low-scoring dog-fights becoming the increasing norm as Saturday wore on.
Despite that, there were some outstanding performances across the country, combining grit, skill, and a huge amount of perseverance in such challenging conditions. Big statements were made by some of September’s top performers, while others began October with a clean slate and an impressive one at that.
Ten to Watch
For the first time this season our readers correctly predicted all ten of our Ten to Watch fixtures, an impressive sign of the readership’s expertise and a perhaps also a sign that after a month of rugby the patterns of form and relative quality are starting to shine through.
Clifton College are certainly in that category of having both form and quality and they showed it again on Saturday against Cheltenham College backing the faith of 72% of our readers to maintain their 100% start to the season with a 28-0 victory, so far Clifton have conceded just a single try.
In near monsoon conditions in South East London, Wellington College also kept up their unbeaten start to the season with a 10-3 victory at Dulwich College. Pre-game the Dulwich faithful were feeling passionate, hence just 51% of readers predicted a Wellington win, and that pre-game passion carried onto the field on Saturday where an unbelievably spirited defensive display kept the star-studded (although shorn of a few) Wellington College side at bay for huge periods. Ultimately though that quality and calm assuredness in the Wellington ranks paid off though as they maintained a lead that in the conditions was worth far more than its numerical value, setting them up for a huge two weeks as they take on Millfield and then look to retain their 2019 St Joseph’s Festival title.
Kirkham Grammar School will be one of the key sides that will threaten Wellington at the St Joseph’s Festival and they demonstrated that once more on Saturday with a stunning 33-5 victory against a strong Denstone College side. 64% of you expected the result, and rightly so after Kirkham had begun the season with five victories on the spin, this tough was arguably the most impressive of the lot and a huge marker ahead of a big few weeks.
A couple of week’s ago we live streamed Woodhouse Grove’s victory over Barnard Castle, which really marked them out as a side to watch. However RGS Newcastle have impressed too, hence such a tight vote among our readers, with 52% edging in favour of Woodhouse Grove. The Yorkshire side exceeded all expectations on the scoreboard though, turning what was predicted to be a close game into a hugely impressive 31-7 away victory.
A staggering 93% of readers predicted at Rugby School victory at home to Marlborough College on Saturday, perhaps an unsurprising number given Rugby’s strong start and a couple of tough outings for Marlborough. However the game panned out to be an incredibly close one, the weather helping to make sure of that, Rugby claimed the victory, 10-5, but Marlborough College will surely take great heart from the game too.
In our preview we said that Millfield’s trip to Sherborne was a vital one for them to maintain and build momentum and confidence ahead of a run that sees them host Wellington College on Saturday and compete in the St Joseph’s Festival, where they are the most successful side ever, a week later. 84% of you backed them and were proved right as the men with the blue stripe secured a 19-5 away victory in utterly atrocious conditions. Sherborne gave a brilliant account of themselves, but this well-balanced Millfield side won out and now look forward to one of the games of the season to date on Saturday.
Radley College have been one of the star teams of September, winning four from four ahead of Saturday’s game against St Paul’s, hence 70% of readers backing the Oxford side. St Paul’s have been strong too though, and so it proved in a really close game in some utterly torrid conditions, where ball handling was a nightmare. Ultimately though it was the clinical finishing of Radley College that made all the difference in helping them to a 28-17 away victory, despite some notable absentees, as you can see in our report: St Paul’s 17-28 Radley College.
Our live game on Friday night was the Oratory derby between The Oratory and London Oratory at Grasshoppers RFC. It all began with a thrilling 2nd XV which looked to be dominated by the Oratory, only for London Oratory to stage a brilliant comeback that fell just short. The 1st XV game was a special occasions as the sun set and the lights came on alongside a building crowd. London Oratory had the better of the opening exchanges but some utterly clinical finishing from The Oratory, and some outstanding breakdown work, saw them charge out to a 37-5 victory in line with the predictions of 78% of our readers. Some of the trys were works of art, as you can see in these highlights:
To Rutland and another derby as Uppingham welcomed Stamford, both had had tricky starts to the season, but a strong win over Solihull the week before made Stamford the favourites of 76% of readers. The rain came down over Uppingham’s Leicester pavilion and the two sides competed hard, but that faith in Stamford from the readers proved justified as they edged to a 16-10 victory away from home ahead of a massive game against Warwick next time out.
The final game of our Ten to Watch was the Wimbledon derby at Wimbledon College, with KCS Wimbledon the visitors. KCS are having a brilliant season, but the train wobbled in midweek against a seriously strong Hampton side, who knocked them out of the Cup (look out for KCS in the Plate, by the way). Wimbledon College had a trickier start to the year and were coming off the back of a Cup defeat too, a tough one at Trinity. So both sides arrived with a point to prove and ultimately both did, KCS were the favourites of 55% of readers and proved so with a 26-0 victory, a vital one ahead of a huge game against Cranleigh next time out, but Wimbledon College gave as good as they got and should take heart in keeping KCS to a score that few of their peers have been able to.
Friday 1st October
Aside from our live stream of The Oratory v London Oratory, Friday featured a number of other games including a Schools Vase game between Winsdor Boys and Sir William Borlase’s, which ended 45-0 in Windsor Boys’ favour to send them through to the third round in South West A and a home tie against Reading Blue Coat, who knocked out The Oratory last week.
Elsewhere there was yet another strong performance from St Benedict’s, this time at Mill Hill, where they sealed a 37-19 victory, while Rendcombe College were also away victors, winning 21-10 at St Edward’s Cheltenham.
Sandbach won a really close encounter against King’s Macclesfield, 24-22, a fantastic game, while in Scotland Glenalmond College enjoyed a 34-16 defeat of Dundee High School.
Saturday 2nd October
Saturday saw some Schools Cup action taking place as Lancaster RGS defeated Stonyhurst College 17-0 to progress to Round 2 in the North A section, where they will now host the formidable Kirkham Grammar School.
The north section also saw Schools Vase action, with St Anselm’s College defeating Adams Grammar 31-5 away from home in North A, they will now travel to St Joseph’s College in Stoke for Round 3.
It was a good day of rugby in the North West, with Wirral Grammar once again showing their quality in a 37-0 defeat of Wilmslow High School, while Altrincham Grammar were on song for a 26-12 defeat of Lymm High School. Birkenhead meanwhile defeated Hutton Grammar 24-10.
St Ambrose welcomed Grammar School at Leeds across from Yorkshire and won an incredibly tight game 10-7, while Giggleswick invited North Western opposition to Yorkshire in the form of AKS Lytham, leading to a tense 10-10 draw.
Hymers College pulled off a brilliant result in yet another close game, defeating an Ampleforth College side that has been rampant, 10-5.
Slightly further South, Mount St Mary’s College were in excellent form in a stunning 48-3 victory away at Nottingham High, while Ratcliffe College won an altogether tighter affair at home to Worksop College, 12-7.
Further East, Norwich won a thriller against The Perse, 39-24, an impressive scoring rate given the weather! Meanwhile at Gresham’s in a much lower scoring and tension ridden game, Felsted just edged things 10-8. The Leys gave one of their best displays of the season with a 31-0 victory at Framlingham College, an outstanding result.
Over in Bedford, Bedford School were on song again with a 19-12 defeat of a good Eton College, while Wellingborough were once again absolutely excellent in their 40-10 victory at Bedford Modern.
One of the results of the day came in Hertfordshire, where St Albans defeated Haileybury, who are a really strong side, 17-10. St Albans will be absolutely flying after that result. Meanwhile RGS Colchester won 30-17 at Bishop’s Stortford High School, and Coopers’ Coborn defeated QES Barnet 12-0 away from home. Richard Hale, meanwhile, enjoyed a 21-14 defeat of Brentwood.
Northampton School for Boys own a hastily re-arranged fixture against Gordon’s 17-5 following the cancellation of their game against St Joseph’s College, while Stowe’s unbeaten season continued with yet another hugely impressive victory as they defeated Oundle 29-0. They have now won four out of four and conceded just three tries.
Bablake & King Henry VIII Coventry are in absolutely stunning form, they are yet to be defeated and on Saturday they well and truly emphasised that point with a thumping 52-0 victory at home against Leicester Grammar. KES Stratford were also in impressive form with a 21-3 victory over Bishop Vesey’s, who have been good of late.
In Henley, Shiplake College were in cracking form for a 33-12 victory over St George’s College Weybridge,while over in Oxford Abingdon picked up their first victory of the season with an 11-7 defeat of Reading Blue Coat.
Warwick had two sides in action on Saturday, their 1st XV beat Samuel Whitbread Academy 24-7, while their 2nd XV sealed a good 17-12 victory over Magdalen College 1st XV, and impressive outing from both sets of men in blue and white hoops. Even further West, Malvern College were back on the horse with a 31-17 defeat of Kingswood, while in Wales Monmouth continue to make waves, this time with a tight 19-17 defeat of the excellent Sir Thomas Rich’s.
Another side really making waves in the West are RGS Worcester, they defeated Dean Close 17-6, one of the top sides of the last few years. Few performances in the South West were as impressive as Mount Kelly’s though, they won 61-0 away at Milton Abbey.
In Taunton, King’s College missed out in a thriller against Bristol Grammar, while Colston’s showed their class in a 31-14 victory away at Taunton School, look out for Colston’s this year. Queen’s College, meanwhile, went down 31-24 at Wells Cathedral.
There was an incredibly tense draw between Monkton Combe and King’s Bruton, finishing up 11-11, while QEH went up to Pate’s Grammar and came home with the spoils in another tight game, winning 17-13.
Along the South Coast, Ryde enjoyed a really impressive 19-12 victory at Portsmouth College, while Seaford College’s 2nd XV were on form at Eastbourne College in a really tight game, unaided by the conditions, winning 7-5.
It was a fairly miserable day across the South East but that did not stop some outstanding performances, among them Brighton College, who beat Trinity 21-7. After a slow start, Brighton College really seem to be hitting their straps of late. There were also away wins for Duke of York’s at Cranbrook, 12-8, and Cranleigh’s 2nd XV at Worth, 14-10.
Arguably the away result of the day though was an incredibly tight game in awful conditions at Tonbridge, were Skinners’ came away with the spoils 5-0 against one of the form sides of the season. In other impressive results on the road, Tiffin won 26-12 at Gunnersbury, while Reigate Grammar sealed a 15-7 victory at Emanuel.
St John’s Leatherhead were on good form in the wet too, they travelled to RGS Guildford and returned home with an impressive 21-5 victory, similar Sutton Valence, who seem to be in fantastic form, won 17-0 at St Lawrence College.
Hampton continued their strong midweek form with an excellent 29-3 victory over Hurstpierpoint College, fantastic preparation as they gear up for the St Joseph’s Festival. While there were also victories for Wallington County Grammar, 15-7 against Langley Park, and Sir Joseph Williamson’s, 22-7 at home to St Olave’s.
Merchant Taylors’ were in stunning form as they beat UCS by an incredible 50-10 margin, similarly King’s Rochester were flying, beating St Dunstan’s College 42-3. Elsewhere Ashford beat Dunnotar 14-10.
Campion and Reed’s had a thrilling and tense game that ended in a 19-19 draw, and things were not far off that at Dartford Grammar, where the hosts beat The Judd 20-18, Gravesned Grammar meanwhile beat Chatham & Clarendon 26-3.
Scotland had some fantastic performances this weekend, among them a stunning 60-12 away win for St Aloysius’ College at Glasgow Academy. Marr College were in similar form, beating Glasgow High 61-17 at home.
Merchiston Castle proved their class in a heavyweight clash at Strathallan, coming away with the spoils 17-3. Stewart’s Melville were also in strong for as they saw off the challenge of Fetts College, 29-5. Robert Gordon’s College were 24-14 victors over club side Howe of Fife.
George Watson’s College won a good contest at George Heriot’s, 28-12, while their 2nd XV won an absolute thriller at St Leonards, 29-28. Dollar Academy were in fine form at Edinburgh Academy, winning 32-5, while Hutchesons’ Grammar held on for a 19-12 victory at home to Kelvinside Academy.
If you have any photos, video, reports, or any other content from the week’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 1st October
Glenalmond College 34-16 Dundee HS
Mill Hill 19-37 St Benedict’s
Sandbach 24-22 King’s Macclesfield
Sir William Borlase’s Grammar 0-45 Windsor Boys’ (Schools Vase)
St Edward’s, Cheltenham 10-21 Rendcomb College
The Oratory 37-5 London Oratory
Saturday 2nd October
Abingdon 11-7 Reading Blue Coat
Adams Grammar 5-31 St Anselm’s College (Schools Vase)
Altrincham GS 26-12 Lymm HS
Ashford 14-10 Dunottar
Bablake & King Henry VIII, Coventry 52-0 Leicester Grammar
Bedford Modern 10-40 Wellingborough
Bedford 19-12 Eton College
Birkenhead 24-10 Hutton Grammar
Bishop’s Stortford High 17-30 RGS Colchester
Campion 19-19 Reed’s
Clifton College 28-0 Cheltenham College
Cranbrook 8-12 Duke of York’s RMS
Dartford Grammar 20-18 The Judd
Dean Close 6-17 RGS Worcester
Dulwich College 3-10 Wellington College
Eastbourne College 5-7 Seaford College 2nd XV
Edinburgh Academy 5-32 Dollar Academy
Emanuel 7-15 Reigate Grammar
Framlingham College 0-31 The Leys
George Heriot’s 12-28 George Watson’s College
Giggleswick 10-10 AKS Lytham
Glasgow Academy 12-60 St Aloysius’ College
Gravesend Grammar 26-3 Chatham & Clarendon Grammar
Gresham’s 8-10 Felsted
Gunnersbury 12-26 Tiffin
Hampton 29-3 Hurstpierpoint College
Hutchesons’ Grammar 19-12 Kelvinside Academy
Hymers College 10-5 Ampleforth College
KES Stratford 21-3 Bishop Vesey’s
King’s College, Taunton 24-31 Bristol Grammar
King’s Rochester 42-3 St Dunstan’s College
Kirkham Grammar 33-5 Denstone College
Lancaster RGS 17-0 Stonyhurst College (Schools Cup)
Malvern College 31-17 Kingswood
Marr College 61-17 Glasgow High
Merchant Taylors’, Northwood 50-10 UCS
Milton Abbey 0-61 Mount Kelly
Monkton Combe 11-11 King’s Bruton
Monmouth 19-17 Sir Thomas Rich’s
Northampton School for Boys 17-5 Gordon’s
Norwich 39-24 The Perse
Nottingham High 3-48 Mount St Mary’s College
Pate’s Grammar 13-17 QEH
Portsmouth Grammar 12-19 Ryde with Upper Chine
QES, Barnet 0-12 Coopers’ Coborn
Ratcliffe College 12-7 Worksop College
RGS Guildford 5-21 St John’s, Leatherhead
RGS Newcastle 7-31 Woodhouse Grove
Richard Hale 21-14 Brentwood
Robert Gordon’s College 24-14 Howe of Fife RFC
Rugby 10-5 Marlborough College
Sherborne 5-19 Millfield
Shiplake College 33-12 St George’s College, Weybridge
Sir Joseph Williamson’s 22-7 St Olave’s Grammar
St Albans 17-10 Haileybury
St Ambrose College 10-7 Grammar School at Leeds
St Lawrence College 0-17 Sutton Valence
St Leonards 28-29 George Watson’s College 2nd XV
St Paul’s 17-28 Radley College
Stewart’s Melville 39-5 Fettes College
Stowe 29-0 Oundle
Strathallan 3-17 Merchiston Castle
Taunton 14-31 Colston’s
Tonbridge 0-5 Skinners’
Trinity 7-21 Brighton College
Uppingham 10-16 Stamford
Wallington County Grammar 15-7 Langley Park
Warwick 2nd XV 17-12 Magdalen College
Warwick 24-7 Samuel Whitbread Academy
Wells Cathedral 31-24 Queen’s College, Taunton
Wimbledon College 0-26 KCS Wimbledon
Wirral Grammar 37-0 Wilmslow High
Worth 10-14 Cranleigh 2nd XV
Still to Come:
Caterham v Eltham College
Colfe’s v Chislehurst & Sidcup GS (Schools Bowl)
Dauntsey’s v KES Southampton
Merchant Taylors’, Crosby v Liverpool College