Unbeaten Cranleigh have snatched the SOCS Daily Mail Schools Trophy from Wellington thanks to one more bonus point.
A 48-20 win over Canford kept Cranleigh ahead in a dramatic finale to this national competition organised on a merit table basis by the school management system, SOCS.
Cranleigh, inspired by England under-18 players Oscar Beard and Will Trenholm, returned a 100 per cent record, winning all nine games.
oth Cranleigh and Wellington averaged 6.60 merit points per game but the former claimed their first title by gaining one more bonus point – 45 to 44.
Wellington, who had only lost to champions Sedbergh in winning nine games out of 10, kept the pressure on Cranleigh by defeating Tonbridge, 28-22, last Saturday.
But Cranleigh claimed the crucial bonus point against Canford fired up by a pack gaining three tries from catch and drives.
Besides the forward power, Cranleigh's runners also contributed in scores by Beard, who beat four defenders, and Finn Barr who raced from near his own line for one of his two tries.
Cranleigh have been an improving team over the past few years and this title continues success at the Rosslyn Park Schools Sevens and the St Joseph's 15-a-side festival.
For Andy Houston, director of rugby, the success highlighted how much improvement his squad has made since they came together in their early teens.
School teams evolve as players become more experienced and Houston explained: 'Seven of the starting team on Saturday played in the B team as 15-year-olds and our hooker, against Canford, Ross Kiely was a fly half for the third team at under-14 level.'
Cranleigh have become known for their attacking rugby – scoring 334 points and only conceding 59.
Champions Sedbergh lost hold of a third successive title when losing to Millfield last week and slipped to fifth place overall.
Epsom finished third after their unbeaten run had been halted by Cranleigh. Clifton grabbed fourth spot in an excellent campaign only stalled by losing at home to Wellington.
A number of other teams had memorable seasons led by three unbeaten teams in Dean Close, the Cheltenham school winning eight out of eight, Merchant Taylors' of Northwood, Herts (seven from seven) and Kirkham, from Lancashire (six out of six).
Barnard Castle, coached by former England scrum-half Lee Dixon in his first season after retiring from playing, also had a notable run in winning their first eight games.
However, the Durham school lost their 100 per cent record last Saturday, 16-14 to RGS Newcastle.
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