High-flying Brighton rock Cranleigh

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November 13, 2023
3 mins read

By Rob Wildman. 

A sixth win of the campaign has fired Brighton College within touching distance
of leaders Harrow in the SOCS Daily Mail Schools Trophy.

A 32-7 win over former Trophy champions Cranleigh has lifted Brighton into second place as the title race resumes after the
half-term break.

Calculators may well be needed over the next six weeks to split the
leading bunch, such are the small margins in this national competition which is run on a merit-table

Harrow, who resume after the break at Tonbridge on Saturday, lead the way having averaged 6.20 merit points per match in winning
all six games so far. Brighton’s latest victory puts them second on 6.03 merit points per game, just behind Harrow and
ahead of third-placed Ipswich who are on 5.90.

They played some typical adventurous rugby only dampened by a semi-final defeat by RGS High Wycombe in the prestigious
St Joseph’s Festival. In the Trophy matches, Brighton have put together six wins, including scoring five tries against
Cranleigh after soaking up early pressure.

The best try came from full back Fergus Lamb who raced from halfway having caught a high ball. ‘It
was a superb solo effort,’ reported Nick Buoy, director of rugby. Another full back to score a crucial try was Stowe’s Rafe Witheat
in a 31-27 win over St Edward’s of Oxford. ‘A get out of jail,’ was how coach Grant Seely described the way his team needed Witheat’s intervention late on. St Edward’s had punished Stowe to lead 27-10 before a second-half comeback was triggered by scrumhalf Ben Currie scoring. RGS High Wycombe continue to build on their success in the prestigious St Joseph’s Festival. Their latest Trophy success was a first in nine years at Whitgift, 29-24.Centre Charlie Inch scored the crucial try to keep the Buckinghamshire school unbeaten in four Trophy games.

A familiar rugby name is helping Reading-based the Oratory School to one of their best seasons in recent years. Somto Monye — cousin of TV rugby pundit and former England international Ugo — is a lead figure in the team posting an
unbeaten run of five matches. The scrum-half is following the deeds of his brother, Ollie, who was a key Oratory player before
moving into the professional ranks at Wasps and now Reading Rams in National League One. Coach Mike Hennessy is thrilled
how his small squad are competing this season, earning the local ‘bragging rights’ by defeating St Edward’s Oxford and Reading Blue Coat School.

‘We are a pretty small school in terms of playing numbers, but we have two good year groups who
have come together at senior level,’ explained Hennessy.

The Trophy, organised by the schools management system, SOCS, is played over the autumn term by more than 140 schools teams from across England.

Match points are awarded as follows: four for a win, two for a draw, plus one for scoring four tries or more and one if losing by seven
points or fewer. In addition, teams gain bonus points determined by
the opposing team’s ranking in the previous season’s Trophy table. A team’s ranking is based on average per game.

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