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Schools Rugby: Weekend Roundup – 16th/17th September – A weekend to remember

If ever there was a weekend to justify the hype, it was weekend two of the 2022/23 schools rugby season as teams threw together some truly exceptional performances and some of the most tension filled games filled the score sheets.

 

Our three live games conceded to glorious, but ultimately unsuccessful, comebacks and some absolutely wonderful rugby across all three, and that was a pattern that was repeated across the country.

 

Of course for some it was the very first game of the season, and among those as well came some glorious performances. Who is going to be able to forget Schools Cup champions Trinity’s first foray of the season.

 

While this article will focus on the results from the weekend, for wider analysis and a look at our Top 5 School Teams of the Weekend, plus the continuation of our School XV of the Decade, make sure to listen to Episode 3 of the NextGenXV podcast when it is released on Tuesday evening.

 

Here though we focus on the results from what was truly an exceptional weekend of school rugby.

 

Ten to Watch

 

Barnard Castle 40-26 Woodhouse Grove

Brighton College 0-10 Hampton

Clifton College 50-15 Old Swinford Hospital

Eton College 26-0 St Paul’s

Northampton School for Boys 24-19 Ipswich

Oakham 64-7 Uppingham

Reading Blue Coat 34-0 Shiplake College

Seaford College 19-10 Epsom College

Trinity 55-10 Cranleigh

Whitgift 28-29 Wellington College – The Schools Championship

 

We begin our roundup, as ever, with our Ten to Watch and what a glorious Ten to Watch it was, starting on Friday night with our first live stream of the weekend as Northampton School for Boys hosting Ipswich. 59% of our readers were expecting Ipswich to win but NSB started with a bang to make that look some way off as they stretched out to a strong advantage. In truth it was two strong sides, but an early lead had given NSB belief and something to defend and from there they began to build a score. The game was to turn on its head though when an interpretation of the front row injuries law saw NSB reduced to 14. That opened the door to Ipswich and they were only too glad to go absolutely charging through it. Tries followed and some excellent rugby too, but in the end time and a stoic NSB defence were against them with a glorious game of rugby ending 24-19 in the favour of NSB.

 

 

 

Our live action then turned to Reading Blue Coat on Saturday morning as they hosted Shiplake College. In glorious mid-September sunshine at Reading RFC Reading Blue Coat got off to a fast start and simply never looked back, showing the flowing style when they have their tables that they showed on their U18 Schools Vase run last year en route to a stunning 34-0 victory, one against the odds of our readers, who had expected Shiplake to run out on top.

 

 

 

The final live stream of the weekend was Round 2 of The Schools Championship as Whitgift hosted Wellington College. Whitgift had already played in Round 1, going down 46-10 to Sedbergh, while for Wellington College it was a TSC debut after facing Harrow last week in a tough outing. Both sides had something to prove then, and boy did it show in an absolute thriller of a game that went this way and that. Whitgift scored the opener, but Wellington College then opened out to a 22-7 lead that felt decisive. However nobody had given Whitgift that script as they came storming back, their maul proving a key weapon as they chipped back to 21-22. Wellington’s maul responded though to stretch to 29-21, and though Whitgift did score again to set up a dramatic finish, that maul try was just enough for Wellington, with Rory Taylor’s conversion, to survive with a 29-28 victory that put them second in the table on points difference behind Sedbergh. More poignantly, it retained them the Seb Adeniran-Olule Memorial Trophy and there was a wonderful presentation made following the game for that trophy with proceeds and awareness being raised for Sebs Foundation.

 

 

Elsewhere the big games and big news had been streaming in all weekend. On Friday night Brighton Collegeand Hampton met in the Peter Bellinger memorial match, with old boys such as Harlequins’ Marcus Smith and James Chisholm in attendance. It was a wonderful achievement, paying great tribute to Peter Bellinger. On the field it was less of a classic, but once again Hampton displayed that they are here in the big time with another big scalp to follow on from Seaford College last week, defying the expectations of 57% of readers to win 10-0. Brighton College will take solace though, they have used 22 players in these first 2 games, a useful stat with challenges such as the St Joseph’s Festival to come.

 

Speaking of Seaford College, they were in action on Saturday against another side looking to bounce back after an opening day defeat, Epsom College. 57% of readers were backing Seaford and were proved right as they won a strong contest 19-10.

 

Moving into London reigning Schools Cup champions Trinity were in action for the first time this season, hosting Cranleigh, who were playing their first competitive fixture. One game is always notoriously difficult to begin making judgements from, but such was the statement that Trinity made in sealing a 55-10 victory, in line with expectations of 68% of readers, that the judgement surely has to be made that they are indeed going to be among the very best this year and will surely fancy a real crack at retaining the title.

 

There was actually Schools Cup action on Saturday in the form of the Rutland derby, Oakham v Uppingham. 74% predicted an Oakham win after they had beaten Rugby last week and Uppingham had lost heavily to Ipswich, but few would have been predicting the scoreline in the end, in a game that is usually so closely matched, with Oakham beating their great rivals by a stunning 64-7 margin.

 

Eton College were also on great form against an old rivals, St Paul’s. Both got off to good starts last week, but 60% thought Eton would do the job on Saturday and so it proved with an excellent performance for a brilliant 26-0 victory.

 

Barnard Castle also made it two from two in impressive style against an old rival. Hosting Woodhouse Grove in the visitors’ first game of the season, Barnard Castle were superb in a thrilling game of rugby as they sealed a 40-26 victory, a victory an impressive 79% of readers expected.

 

One side that is really standing out above all others in these early stages though is Clifton College. 84% of readers expected them to beat Old Swinford Hospital, 84% against a side that made our Top 5 last week by beating one of the toughest sides to go to away from home. But the 84% were proven right as Clifton College carried on the stunning form they showed against Millfield last week to win by an incredible 50-15 margin. They truly are playing some glorious rugby.

 

Remaining Fixtures

 

Friday

 

KCS Wimbledon 21-12 London Oratory

Reigate Grammar 34-17 Wallington County Grammar (at Old Reigatians)

St Peter’s, Gloucester 14-64 Solihill (at Cheltenham Rugby Club)

Wycliffe College 7-17 King’s Gloucester (at Cinderford RFC)

 

Friday was a busy day and though not all results are yet in, there were some standouts, chief among them a quite incredible performance from Solihull, who travelled to Cheltenham RFC to take on St Peter’s Gloucester and put in a second superb performance in a row to win 64-14, they are certainly a side to watch.

 

Nearby, King’s Gloucester beat Wycliffe College 17-7 at Cinderford RFC, while around the capital Reigate Grammar made it two from two with a 34-17 victory over Wallington County Grammar at Old Reigatians. KCS Wimbledon meanwhile bounced back from last week’s defeat to seal an excellent 21-12 victory over London Oratory.

 

Saturday

 

Abingdon 22-29 Marlborough College

Ashville Harrogate 17-29 Giggleswick

Austin Friars 0-59 Durham

Bablake & King Henry VIII 15-10 Nottingham High

Bedford 29-29 Rugby

Bloxham 24-18 King’s Worcester

Blundell’s 24-53 Millfield

Bradford Grammar 21-19 Stonyhurst

Brentwood 49-10 Ravens Wood

Bristol Cathedral 47-24 Clifton High

Bristol Grammar 12-31 Kingswood

Bromsgrove 36-27 Sir Thomas Rich’s

Canford 14-12 Hurstpierpoint College

Cathedral School, Llandaff 19-17 King’s College, Taunton

Caterham 15-7 King’s Canterbury

Christ’s Hospital 20-31 Cranbrook

Clayesmore 29-17 King’s Bruton

Colfe’s 38-10 Bancroft’s

Coopers’ Coborn 31-10 St Olave’s Grammar

Dame Allan’s 5-21 Ampleforth College

Dauntsey’s 19-15 KES Bath

Denstone College 61-5 St Peter’s, York

Dollar Academy 0-29 George Watson’s College

Downside 0-42 Bryanston

Eastbourne College 7-31 Sutton Valence

Exeter School 17-14 QEH

Felsted 8-6 Mill Hill

Fettes College 0-10 Strathallan

Framlingham College 43-10 RGS Colchester

Gordon’s 21-10 Churcher’s College

Grammar School at Leeds 27-7 Cheadle Hulme

Gravesend Grammar 60-5 Maidstone Grammar

Gresham’s 33-14 The Leys

Gunnersbury 50-19 St Richard Reynolds (at Teddington RFC)

Harrow 40-12 Dulwich College

Hereford Cathedral School 0-44 Pate’s Grammar

Hutchesons’ Grammar 45-14 Glasgow High

KES Birmingham 14-41 KES Stratford

King’s Macclesfield 23-12 QEGS Wakefield

Lancaster RGS v Kirkham Grammar – Cancelled

Latymer Upper 17-26 Cardinal Vaughan

Leicester Grammar 0-53 Princethorpe College

Lord Wandsworth College 43-12 Portsmouth Grammar

Malvern College 14-29 Collegiate

Merchant Taylors’, Crosby 0-26 Manchester Grammar

Merchiston Castle 31-28 Stewart’s Melville

Monkton Combe 28-24 Prior Park College

Monmouth 29-21 Cheltenham College

Mount Kelly Triangular: Mount Kelly 14-14 Truro, Mount Kelly 5-17 Wellington, Truro 10-24 Wellington School

New Hall 21-12 Bishop’s Stortford High

Norwich 24-17 St Joseph’s College

Oratory 27-17 KES Southampton

Oundle 10-67 Stowe

QES, Barnet 0-81 Bedford Modern

Radley College 30-10 Sherborne

RGS Guildford 38-7 Wimbledon College

RGS High Wycombe 35-20 St John’s, Leatherhead

RGS Newcastle 8-40 Sedbergh

Richard Hale 27-5 St George’s, Harpenden

Robert Gordon’s College 26-32 Glenalmond College

Ryde with Upper Chine 57-0 Embley

Sandbach 19-32 Wirral Grammar

Scarisbrick Hall 7-37 St Edward’s College, Liverpool

Sevenoaks 6-20 Worth

Skinners’ 25-7 John Fisher

St Benedict’s 17-12 St George’s College, Weybridge

St Edward’s, Oxford 35-5 Pangbourne College

Stamford 24-30 Haileybury

The Perse 53-0 Royal Hospital School

Tonbridge 8-21 The Judd

Trent College 27-22 Loughborough Grammar

Warminster 15-14 Wells Cathedral

Warwick 10-26 Berkhamsted

Watford Grammar 11-14 Merchant Taylors’, Northwood

West Buckland 14-28 Taunton

Windsor Boys’ 60-0 Isleworth & Syon

 

Saturday was meanwhile chock full of rugby, and once more it was the close games that really jumped off the page, none more so that Bedford’s 29-29 draw with Rugby, one of a number of close games and one that suggests these two are worth paying attention to.

 

Bradford Grammar were another to win a high-profile tight game, defeating another one time giant of the school game, Stonyhurst, 21-19. It was similar in Oxford, where Marlborough College travelled to Abingdon for a thriller that the away side just edged 29-22.

 

Monmouth appear this season to perpetually be in close games, and after coming out on the wrong side against Old Swinford Hospital last week, on Saturday they were on the right side with a 29-21 defeat of Cheltenham College.

 

Of course not all games will be close, but even then they can be thrilling, just look at Millfield’s stunning win at Blundell’s, 53-24 away from home. A stunning win for Millfield but a thrilling game nonetheless. Millfield’s fellow side from The Schools Championship, Sedbergh, were also in action and were also in fantastic form as they travelled to RGS Newcastle and handed a strong side a commanding 40-8 defeat. Sedbergh are looking very formidable indeed. Not too far away Durham were also in flying form, winning 59-0 at Austin Friars, so too Windsor Boys, 60-0 vs Isleworth & Syon.

 

Harrow laid down a marker against Wellington College last week and they doubled down on it on Saturday with an exceptional 40-12 defeat of Dulwich College. They may have started the game as favourites, but the way that Harrow have begun is starting to suggest that there will be very very few games in which they do not start as favourites. Denstone College are also looking brilliant, a tight win over NSB backed up by a stunning 61-5 victory over St Peter’s York on Saturday that surely suggests they are one of the strongest around. Find out more on Friday in our live stream of their game against Ipswich.

 

Is it possible that the same could be said of RGS Guildford? Certainly the way they have started is impressive enough, a first win against Epsom in 11 years last week, and then on Saturday a dominant 38-7 victory over Wimbledon College. RGS are looking strong. So too their fellow Royal Grammar School, RGS High Wycombe, who backed up a top performance in defeat to Berkhamsted last week with a 35-20 victory over St John’s Leatherhead on Saturday. Berkhamsted meanwhile stepped up further with an excellent 26-10 victory at Warwick, whose old rivals Bromsgrove won a real thriller at home to Sir Thomas Rich’s, 36-27.

 

Some sides really were in exceptional form though, not least Bedford Modern, who absolutely stunned QES Barnet with an 81-0 victory. Gravesend Grammar were in similar form in the Kent derby as they defeated Maidstone Grammar by a stunning 60-5 margin. Quite incredible. They were far from the only ones though, Ryde were flying, beating Embley 57-0 and it was a similar score for Princethorpe College at Leciester Grammar, 53-0. The Perse too, and in a surprise one against one of East Anglia’s top sides last year, Royal Hospital School, winning 53-0 as well.

 

When it comes to building a big total though, perhaps the standout was Stowe. They travelled to Oundle and were expected to win in decent fashion, but so very few could have predicted what unfolded as they stormed to a 67-10 victory that included some truly top class tries, followers of our Instagram page will have seen just how spectacular some of those tries were.

 

Elsewhere there were some really strong performances in competitive games, among them Collegiate winning 29-14 at Malvern College and Radley College beating Sherborne 30-10 in what was the first game of the season for both.

 

Haileybury are looking like a side to pay real attention to, and you’ll be able to in Wednesday’s live stream from Stone X as they take on Blundell’s at 7.30pm. Last week they defeated Felsted, and on Saturday they defeat a Stamford side that had already beaten one of the early season favourites, Stowe. It was a fantastic game, but Haileybury were the ones on the right side, winning 30-24.

 

Performance of the day though surely has to go to The Judd. The Kent state school side travelled to the counties most storied independent school from a rugby point of view, Tonbridge and came home with an outstanding 21-8 victory. A performance and result that will have seen people take note all around the country. It was similar to Skinners’ performance against Tonbridge last year, and Skinners’ are looking capable of the same this year as they continued their good start with a 25-7 defeat of John Fisher, another absolutely mighty result.

 

Staying in the South East, there was a superb 20-6 victory at Sevenoaks for Worth, while Colfe’s sealed a 38-10 victory over Bancrofts and Cardinal Vaughan travelled to Latymer Upper and came away with a 26-17 victory. Meanwhile at Teddington RFC Gunnersbury were in flying form, facing St Richard Reynolds and winning 50-19.

 

Sutton Valence have become a side to watch and showed just as much on Saturday with a 31-7 victory at Eastbourne College, meanwhile Cranbrook travelled to Christ’s Hospital and won a thriller, 31-20. Caterham also won a fairly close on, 15-7, while on the South Coast Lord Wandsworth College were in flying for as they beat Portsmouth Grammar 43-12.

 

Gordon’s enjoyed their weekend, winning 21-10 against Churcher’s College, while The Oratory were in a similarly happy mood after a 27-17 defeat of KES Southampton. In towards the capital St Benedict’s season is underway and off to the sort of start that got them to 3rd in the Daily Mail Trophy last year, beating St George’s College Weybridge 17-12, meanwhile Merchant Taylors’ won 14-11 at Watford Grammar.

 

North of London Richard Hale had a fine day with a 27-5 defeat of St George’s Harpenden, while on the East Brentwood enjoyed a stunning 49-10 victory over Ravens Wood and Coopers’ Coborn defeated St Olave’s 31-10.

 

New Hall were on form for a 21-12 victory over a Bishop’s Stortford High side that had started the season well, and Felsted were involved in another tight one, this time beating Mill Hill 8-6. In Suffolk Framlingham College were absolutely flying, beating RGS Colchester 43-10, while travelling from Suffolk to Norfolk were St Joseph’s College, who missed out at Norwich, 24-17. Along the road Gresham’s were in fine form, beating The Leys 33-14.

 

Further West it was an enjoyable one for Trent College, winning a thriller against Loughborough Grammar 27-22. Further West still, Bablake & King Henry VIII won a tight one over Nottingham High, 15-10, while Bloxham enjoyed a win in a cracking game against King’s Worcester, 24-18, and KES Stratford won by a stunning 41-14 margin at KES Birmingham. Into Oxford, and St Edwards’s were truly on song, beating Pangbourne 35-5.

 

Right on the West of England there was a brilliant performance from Pate’s Grammar, who headed to Hereford Cathedral to claim a stunning 44-0 victory.

 

Staying in the West and South West there were impressive displays in Bristol, Kingswood winning 31-12 at Bristol Grammar, with Bristol Cathedral beating Clifton High 47-24. Across the border Cathedral School Llandaff won a thriller against King’s College Taunton, while KCT’s local rivals Taunton School had a good 28-14 victory at West Buckland. Clayesmore meanwhile beat King’s Bruton 29-17.

 

There was a triangular at Mount Kelly, involving Truro and Wellington schools. Wellington School came out on top, defeating each of the others, while Mount Kelly and Truro drew against one another. Bryanston were on epic form, a stunning 42-0 victory at Downside, but elsewhere in the region things were tight, Canford winning 14-12 against Hurstpierpoint, Warminster 15-14 against Wells Cathedral, Dauntsey’s by 4 points at home to KES Bath, 19-15, and Exeter by three against QEH, 17-14.

 

The cherry on that cake though was Monkton Combe v Prior Park College. A thriller of a game that saw Monkton Combe back up last week’s exceptional performance with an intense 28-24 victory.

 

In the North Kirkham Grammar’s return to action was again delayed as their trip to Lancaster RGS was cancelled – watch this space though for news of their next fixture. Elsewhere there was brighter fixture news though, including a strong performance from Wirral Grammar to win 32-19 at Sandbach, while Manchester Grammar were excellent for a 26-0 victory at Merchant Taylors’, Crosby. St Edward’s College were also on strong form, heading to Scarisbrick Hall and winning 37-7.

 

King’s Macclesfield welcomed Yorkshire opposition in QEGS Wakefield, and secured a strong 23-12 victory. Going the other way were Cheadle Hulme, but in that one Yorkshire struck back with a 27-7 victory for Grammar School at Leeds. Along the road Giggleswick won impressively at Ashville Harrogate, 29-17, while Ampleforth College travelled to the North East and sealed a superb 21-5 victory at Dame Allan’s.

 

Up in Scotland there was an absolute classic between Merchiston Castle and Stewart’s Melville, sharing 59 points but with the majority just going to Merchiston Castle, 31-28. Hopefully a sign of more thrillers to come in Scotland. Glenalmond and Robert Gordon’s will hope so too as they played a classic, ending 32-26 to Glenalmond.

 

George Watson’s College had a real day to remember, heading to Dollar Academy for a 29-0 victory, while Hutchesons’ Grammar were flying too, beating Glasgow High 45-14. Meanwhile Strathallan enjoyed a lower scoring but no less important 10-0 victory at Fettes College.

 

Still to Come:

 

Friday

Angus Colts v Dundee High School

Christ College v St Luke’s College

 

Saturday

AKS Lytham v Altrincham Grammar

Birkenhead v St Anselm’s College

Glasgow Academy v Kelvinside Academy

Howe of Fife RFC v Morrison’s Academy

Langley Park v Dartford Grammar

Mount St Mary’s College v Pocklington

Plymouth College v Queen’s College, Taunton

St Ambrose College v Kirkham Grammar 2nd XV

St Albans Triangular: Robert Clack, St Albans, UCS

The Grange v Lymm High

Wilmslow High v Stockport Grammar

Wymondham College v Langley

 

If you have any photos, videos, clips, stories, or reports from the weekend please do send them in.

For enquiries about live streaming of future games, please contact richard@nextgenxv.com

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