It was another outstanding weekend of schools rugby this weekend, an emotional one for sure with many players pulling on their shirt for the final time, and a great many more pulling it on for the last time on their home ground.
These are some of the most special, memorable, and emotional times in schools rugby, and yet among all of that there was some serious business to be done. Clifton College, Harrow, and Trinity all went into the weekend with the Daily Mail Trophy on the line, those were the only three left that could win it, guaranteeing a another new champion for the second year running after Berkhamsted’s maiden triumph last year.
That was far from all that was at play though, with sides looking to complete, or keep alive the possibility of, unbeaten seasons, others looking for maiden victories to end the year on a high. For many though, it was simply about going out there and enjoying one of your final days in a schools rugby shirt with a performance and effort of which to be proud.
It was outstanding in all corners of the country.
Ten to Watch
Brighton College 25-7 RGS Guildford
Bromsgrove 5-25 Clifton College
Epsom College 26-48 Harrow
Haileybury 13-26 Berkhamsted
Millfield 34-32 Monmouth
RGS Newcastle 36-29 Barnard Castle
Sedbergh 31-17 Mount St Mary’s College
Sir Thomas Rich’s 40-19 Northampton School for Boys
Tonbridge 13-14 Wellington College
Trinity 34-19 Eton College
All three of those key Daily Mail Trophy games were in our Ten to Watch, and all three saw superb performances from the key protagonists, despite Harrow and Trinity having their huge U18 Schools Cup quarter final on Thursday, which will be live streamed here on NextGenXV (see below) and will be key at the top of the NextGenXV Schools Rugby Table as well, where those two and Clifton are again at the top of the pile.
Clifton College bounced back from defeat to Blackrock College a week ago with a superb 25-5 victory over Bromsgrove to end their season on a high, Bromsgrove meanwhile take on Warwick next weekend. It was all that the South West side could do, however the two London sides were soon to have their say. Trinity knew that the ace up their sleeve was having two games left as opposed to Harrow and Clifton’s one each, but it was against a tough Eton College side who themselves were riding high in the Top 10. Trinity were on song, winning 34-19 to stay in touching distance of the top, a result that slid this superb Eton group down to 8th.
Which left it all to Harrow. A good victory over Epsom College would see them take the title, despite Trinity’s extra game against local rivals John Fisher. The North West London side duly delivered with an outstanding 48-26 victory at Epsom, who have been showing some strong form of late as the season heads to a close. They should feel real confidence about their Schools Plate quarter final this week now.
The result gave Harrow their first ever Daily Mail Trophy title and sets things up magnificently for that U18 Schools Cup quarter final on Thursday; Harrow v Trinity Preview.
Elsewhere Sedbergh solidified fourth place in their final game of the season, beating Schools Vase holders Mount St Mary’s College with an impressive 31-17 victory to end what has been yet another superb season for the Cumbrian side. A tough way for the season to end for Mount St Mary’s, but they have had some wonderful moments.
Fifth place is looking like a toss up between Millfield and Sir Thomas Rich’s and both sides kept the drama up in contrasting ways on Saturday. Millfield hosted a strong Monmouth outfit who pushed them all the way as Millfield just clung on for a 34-32 victory, ending the term without defeat since September in yet another glorious season for the men from Somerset. Monmouth will be gutted to have missed out on what would have been a famous victory, but with a huge Schools Plate quarter final to come on Wednesday they should be full of confidence. Sir Thomas Rich’s meanwhile hosted Northampton School for Boys in a highly anticipated all state school fixture. Results this season suggested a close on, but Tommies are locked in right now and took a magnificent 40-19 victory over their visitors, and with two Trophy games to come, unlike the rest of the Top 10, they could yet keep climbing.
RGS Newcastle might yet have a thing or two to say about that fifth place though, they are playing some remarkable rugby at the moment and were involved in an absolute thriller on Saturdya with Barnard Castle.Both have had really tight matches against Durham recently, so a tight one was expected, but this one was fantastic. RGS took the victory, 36-29, an outstanding result, but also one that sets them up fantastically for their Schools Cup Quarter Final against Oakham on Wednesday, and their final game of the season against Kirkham on Saturday. Barnard Castle meanwhile should take heart from the fact that it is only RGS that have beaten them this year and both have been crackers as they head into their final game of the term this week, their Plate quarter final against Solihull.
Last year’s Daily Mail Trophy champions Berkhamsted earned a good victory away at a Haileybury side that was riding high on confidence after a thrilling victory over Whitgift last time out. Berkhamsted won 26-13 to send them into their last game full of confidence, Haileybury meanwhile have a huge Plate tie with which to end the term.
Brighton College have finished their term off in style, with four victories on the bounce including on 25-7 Saturday against an RGS Guildford side that have been making a habit of taking down big names this season. It’s a wonderful end to the term for Brighton, and a tough one for RGS would should take massive heart from what has been an exceptional term of rugby.
In Kent Tonbridge and Wellington College went toe to toe in the sort of clash reminiscent of some of their games in Tonbridge’s Ben Earl era. Almost inseparable, but Wellington College took the spoils 14-13 to finish their block season on a high, though they to have a game against South Africa’s Titans Academy on Saturday. Tonbridge meanwhile have had a strong year, much better than results necessarily suggest, and will be looking forward to a big final game of the season at Seaford College on Saturday.
Calday Grange Grammar 0-12 St Anselm’s College
Chatham & Clarendon 3-29 St Lawrence College
KES Stratford 8-5 Princethorpe College
King’s College, Taunton 0-0 Whitchurch High
Leighton Park 43-0 St Joseph’s College, Reading
Friday saw some tight games, KES Stratford won a tense one with Princethorpe College 8-5, while King’s Taunton and Whitchurch High drew 0-0, with St Anselm’s College winning 12-0 at Calday Grange Grammar.
Leighton Park were in flying form against St Joseph’s College Reading, winning 43-0, while St Lawrence College were 29-3 victors at Chatham & Clarendon.
Abingdon 15-43 Bedford
Aylesbury Grammar 27-17 Haberdashers’
Bablake & King Henry VIII 12-59 Old Swinford Hospital
Bedford Modern 57-5 St George’s, Harpenden
Birkenhead 54-12 Liverpool College
Bishop Vesey’s Grammar 17-18 Nottingham High
Blundell’s 33-0 Taunton
Bradford Grammar 12-28 Hymers College
Bristol Grammar 34-14 RGS Worcester
Bryanston 45-7 Lord Wandsworth College
Claremont Fan Court 5-35 Cardinal Vaughan
Cheadle Hulme 29-38 St Ambrose College
Clifton High 5-56 Warminster
Dauntsey’s Triangular: Dauntsey’s, King’s Bruton, Prior Park College
Duke of York’s Royal Military 0-50 Sutton Valence
Dulwich College 10-11 St Paul’s
Emanuel 46-21 St George’s College, Weybridge
Framlingham College 7-12 The Perse
George Watson’s College 31-0 Dollar Academy
Giggleswick 5-26 Durham
Gordon’s 78-5 Royal Alexandra & Albert
Gravesend Grammar 24-26 Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar
Hampton 69-12 John Fisher
Hurstpierpoint College 14-10 Eastbourne College
KES Bath 18-17 Wellington
KES Birmingham 13-13 King’s Gloucester
King’s Canterbury 15-16 Worth
Kings Ely 39-14 Wisbech Grammar
King’s Macclesfield 25-12 Grammar School at Leeds
King William’s College 3-10 King’s Rochester
King’s Worcester 10-31 Christ College
Kingswood 17-5 Bishop Wordsworth’s
Magdalen College 17-15 Shiplake College
Maidstone Grammar 5-40 The Judd
Malvern College 17-17 St Edward’s Oxford
Marlborough College 5-40 Cranleigh
Monkton Combe 35-38 Clayesmore
Mount Kelly 32-27 Plymouth College
New Hall 12-29 RGS Colchester
Norwich 22-17 Gresham’s
Pocklington 24-27 Ampleforth College
Portsmouth Grammar 32-24 KES Southampton
QEH 24-19 Beechen Cliff
QES Barnet 19-57 Watford Grammar
Radley College 35-31 Oundle
Ratcliffe College 39-27 Leicester Grammar
Reed’s 22-20 Reigate Grammar
Royal Hospital School 10-19 Finborough
Rugby 29-17 Cheltenham College
Ryde 12-47 Churcher’s College
Seaford College 46-14 Langley Park
Sevenoaks 10-22 Caterham
Sherborne 5-28 Canford
Sir Joseph Williamson’s 10-19 Skinners’
Solihull 12-17 Loughborough Grammar
St Albans 19-5 Merchant Taylors’
St Columba’s College 59-0 Latymer Upper
St John’s, Leatherhead 30-27 KCS Wimbledon
St Olave’s Grammar 14-15 Eltham College
Stamford 26-9 Felsted
Stirling County RFC 5-36 Stewart’s Melville
Stockport Grammar 30-15 Harrodian
Stowe 30-26 Ipswich
Tiffin 46-21 St Benedict’s
Truro 13-33 Exeter
Uppingham 32-20 The Leys
Wallington County Grammar 29-14 Ravens Wood
Wellingborough 22-17 Trent College
Whitgift 2nd XV 24-20 London Oratory
Wilmslow High School 0-41 Wirral Grammar
Windsor Boys’ 0-22 Halliford
Woodhouse Grove 22-15 St Peter’s, York
Wrekin College 0-59 Ellesmere College
Saturday was an epic day of rugby and one of the season’s star teams, King’s Macclesfield, were at it again with a 25-12 victory over Grammar School at Leeds, setting them up perfectly ahead of their Schools Cup quarter final against Finborough on Friday, who won 19-10 at Royal Hospital School on Saturday.
On Wednesday the NextGenXV Live Streaming cameras will be taking in another of the U18 Schools Cup quarter finals, see below, Marlborough College v Blundell’s. Both were in action on Saturday, with Blundell’s have a real confidence booster ahead of that game, a stunning 33-0 victory over Taunton School. Marlborough meanwhile had a tougher outing, going down 40-5 at home to Cranleigh. It was a wonderful performance from Cranleigh who have started roaring into lift in this second half of term, indeed but for a point here and there only Trinity would have beaten them this season.
Stamford are also roaring through the latter stages of this season and continued that on Saturday with an excellent 26-9 victory over Felsted. They have performed well against some of the best around, including Oakham and Stowe, and Stowe were on form on Saturday too claiming arguably their biggest scalp of the season against Ipswich in what was an absolutely fantastic game of rugby, ending 30-26 in Stowe’s favour.
Hampton had just had a little wobble through November, though it must be said that defeats to Harrow, Trinity, and Cranleigh hardly constitute a wobble, but they were back on song and in some serious style on Saturday with a stunning 69-12 defeat of John Fisher. St John’s Leatherhead are up next for Hampton, and they were involved in an absolute classic on Saturday, just edging out KCS Wimbledon 30-27. Reed’s were also involved in a tight one, beating Reigate Grammar 22-20.
Things were even tighter over in Birmingham where KES Birmingham and King’s Gloucester held each other to a 13-13 draw, and Malvern College were also involved in a draw, with St Edward’s Oxford holding them at 17-17.
Tight game were the order of the day in many areas, Nottingham High School beating Bishop Vesey’s Grammar 18-17 away from home, Magdalen College holding out against Shiplake College for a 17-15 victory, and St Paul’s earning a hard fought 11-10 victory at Dulwich College, who must have thought a first victory of the season was on the horizon.
KES Bath meanwhile held on for an 18-17 victory over Wellington School, at half time KES led 18-0 but in the second half the visitors came roaring back. It was in the balance, but the home side just about held out for the 18-17 victory, while Wellington were left with a response to be proud of in a true game of two halves.
One side who did earn their first victory of the season was Uppingham, who defeated The Leys 32-20 on a special day for the school as their unbeaten Colts side from the 1970s came back for a reunion. Elsewhere Oundle came close to doing something special at Radley College, but Radley just held out in a thrilling game, 35-31. It was a similar story in the South West, where Clayesmore secured an absolutely epic 38-35 victory at Monkton Combe, two magnificent occasions.
The South East saw some incredibly close games of rugby, Hurstpierpoint College earning a particularly impressive 14-10 victory over a bang in form Eastbourne College side, while Worth won 16-15 at King’s Canterbury, and Eltham College were 15-14 victors at St Olave’s Grammar.
Elsewhere there were some swashbuckling performances, Old Swinford Hospital have been magnificent at times this year and were so again on Saturday with a brilliant 59-12 victory at Bablake & King Henry VIII. Another side that has been brilliant are Bedford Modern, who showed it again at home on Saturday as they charged to a 57-5 victory at home against St George’s Harpenden.
Saturday also saw one of the oldest games in all of schoolboy rugby, Rugby v Cheltenham College and it was a top game, ending Rugby’s way 29-17.
There were also some great derby games, among them the South Coast derby between Portsmouth Grammar and KES Southampton, which Portsmouth Grammar took 32-24, while in Norfolk Norwich hosted Gresham’s in their big derby and won a tight one 22-17.
Yorkshire saw some great head to heads, Woodhouse Grove winning 22-15 against St Peter’s York being one of them, and another being a thriller as Ampleforth College travelled to Pocklinton and won 27-24. Durham were at Giggleswick and finally got a scoreboard reward for their outstanding recent form, winning 26-5, meanwhile Hymers College were impressive for a 28-12 victory at Bradford Grammar.
Scotland saw a few cancellations, but that did not stop there being a couple of outstanding performances, George Watson’s College winning 31-0 at home to Dollar Academy and Stewart’s Melville winning 36-5 at Stirling County.
In the North West of England St Ambrose won a cracker at Cheadle Hulme, 38-29, while there were some incredibly strong performances from others Birkenhead winning 54-12 at home to Liverpool College and Wirral Grammar winning 41-0 on the road at Wilmslow High. Ellemsere College did similar at Wrekin College, 59-0, while Stockport Grammar won 30-15 against Harrodian and King’s Rochester won 10-3 at King William’s.
In the Midlands Ratcliffe College were 39-27 victors over Leicester Grammar, while Trent College went down 22-17 to Wellingborough. Further West Christ College Brecon of Wales propelled themselves into the Daily MaiL Trophy Top 10 with a 31-10 victory at King’s Worcester, while Loughborough Grammar won 17-12 at Solihull.
Bedford were on song in Abingdon for a brilliant 43-15 victory, Bedford have been absolutely superb at time this year. Meanwhile Halliford won 22-0 at Windsor Boy’s, and Aylesbury Grammar were on song at home against Haberdashers’, 27-17.
The East of the Country saw Kings Ely defeat Wisbech Grammar 12-7, while The Perse won a tight one at Framlingham College 12-7 and RGS Colchester won 29-12 at New Hall. IN Hertfordshire the ever-impressive St Albans were 19-5 victors over Merchant Taylors’, and St Columba’s College were in stunning form v Latymer Upper, 59-0. Watford Grammar meanwhile won 57-19 at QES Barnet.
In London there were two identical thrillers, Tiffin winning 46-21 against a tough St Benedict’s outfit and Emanuel winning by the same score against St George’s College Weybridge. Cardinal Vaughan won 35-5 at Claremont, while London Oratory just went down against Whitgift 2nd XV, 24-20.
In Kent there was yet another magnificent performance from The Judd, 40-5 at Maidstone Grammar. That sets up brilliantly for their huge game against Skinners’ this weekend, who won 19-10 at Sir Joseph Williamson’s. Sutton Valence were also flying, winning 50-0 at Duke of York’s Royal Military, while Caterham won 22-10 at Sevenoaks and Wallington Country Grammar held off Ravens Wood, 29-14. Game of the day in Kent though was surely Chislehurst & Sidcup’s tight 26-24 victory at Gravesend Grammar.
In Sussex, Seaford College were flying – what a close to the year they are having – winning 46-14 against Langley Park, while in Surrey Gordon’s were in blistering form, 78-5 against Royal Alexandra & Albert.
The Isle of Wight saw Churcher’s College pay a visit and seal a 47-12 victory at Ryde, while back on the mainland Canford were on song against Sherborne, winning 28-5 away from home while Duantsey’s, King’s Bruton, and Prior Park were all involved in a triangular. Bryanston meanwhile had an epic victory, winning 45-7 against Lord Wandsworth College.
Elsewhere, Bristol Grammar were excellent, beating RGS Worcester 34-14, no mean feat, and Warminster were sensational at Clifton High, winning 56-5. Kingswood enjoyed a 17-5 effort against Bishop Wordsworth’s, while QEH won a tight one 24-19 against Beechen Cliff’s non-ace side.
Further into the South West, Mount Kelly won a classic at home against Plymouth College, 32-27, and Exeter School travelled from Devon to Cornwall to take on Truro School and came back up the A30 with a 33-13 victory.
Still to Come:
AKS Lytham v St David’s College – Friday
Bancroft’s v Hockerill Anglo-European College
Dundee High v Queen Victoria
Fulham Boys v Orleans Park – at Rosslyn Park – Friday
Glenalmond College v Robert Gordon’s College
Hutton Grammar v Bolton
Kelvinside Academy v Balfron High
Merchant Taylors’ v Lancaster RGS
Mill Hill v UCS
Sandbach v Altrincham Grammar
Sidcot v King’s College Taunton 2nd XV – Friday
The Crypt v Hereford Cathedral School
The Oratory v Pangbourne College