By Joe Cornell
Hampton U12s won the Ibstock Place School 7s with a convincing victory in the final over St. James’s School. Having recently won the Warwick School 7s tournament, the team travelled to Ibstock with confidence. This was matched with some trepidation, as the other schools in the competition were well known.
In the first game, the U12s fought to victory over Tiffin School; despite nerves and a resultant lack of structure, Hampton came through with the win.
Next, some strong defending and excellent finishing allowed confidence to build with a convincing victory over Isleworth and Syon School.
The team were now well prepared for their toughest group game against Gunnersbury School, which went to plan with Hampton winning 4-1. More of the same followed against both Portland Place School and Radnor School, and Hampton were resounding group winners.
This set up a semi-final against the hosts Ibstock, who got off to a flying start, scoring three tries in the first three minutes. Tom Harvey was able to score one in return before the break, but with the score at 1-3 heads were low and coach Mr Ellsworth had to instil some belief. Four minutes remained to save the day.
Luck came from the kick off, with an Ibstock error meaning Toby Smith could run in. Alfie Amor then brought the score level with a lovely step to complete a wonderful backs-move. The frantic pace continued, and with seconds remaining Joe Cornell threw a dummy and raced in to secure a memorable win and much celebration.
Composure returned as the team prepared for the final against St James’s, who had previously drawn with Ibstock. The form from the semi-final continued, with Hampton running out easy 4-1 winners.
It capped a fantastic afternoon for the team – unbeaten in 7 games, with 35 tries scored and only eight conceded.
Next for the U12s is the Reigate Grammar School 7s tournament later this month.