By Joe Cornell
Hampton’s U12A rugby team had a remarkable 2018-2019 campaign, winning the Middlesex 12s, the Warwick Sevens, the Ibstock Sevens and (as joint winners) the Surrey Sevens.
The season started on a sour note, with a last-minute defeat to St Johns 20-15. Joe Cornell scored the team’s first try of the season but they couldn’t withstand late pressure. However, Hampton recorded a convincing 35-10 win against Epsom College, scoring some well-worked tries.
The next game was against RGS High Wycombe and Hampton were outmuscled by the sheer size of the RGS boys. Hampton lost 35-5 and really wanted to play some better rugby. The next week, the squad was joined by Ben Conaghan for games against St. Benedict’s and St Paul’s.
Hampton beat St. Benedict’s 25-5 but the next game was the big one. St Paul’s are a notable rugby school but that didn’t stop Hampton, who played some impressive rugby and defended with strength and togetherness to win 20-15 in a heated affair. The rain-soaked boys were overjoyed and “We Are The Champions” was heard in the changing rooms.
In the next two games, against Haliford and Trinity School, Hampton cruised to 25-5 and 20-5 away victories. The next game was against a strong Grey Court side and Hampton had a changed squad. Hampton went 25-0 up but Grey Court managed to pull it level to 25-25 and that was the final score.
Then came the Middlesex 12s – a tournament Hampton wanted to win. Beating Orleans and Fulham Boys, they cruised through the group stage and recorded strong victories against Latimer and St. Benedict’s in the cup.
Then in the final they performed admirably against a very strong Gunnersbury and beat then 10-5 to lift the trophy. Hampton had gone behind at the start but tries from Alfie Amor and Maddox Dakin meant Hampton claimed victory.
In the next game, Hampton played against a tall but unskilled Caterham and beat them resoundingly 50-5. After the Christmas break , Hampton travelled to Tiffin and beat them 55-5 with Will Youster and Will Skinner along with HSC’s very own Isaac Tarragano scoring the pick of the tries.
The Hampton squad had now been joined by Tom Harvey and Adam Gwynne, but the team couldn’t record a victory against Warwick, losing 30-25 because of some poor defending around the breakdown. But they played some good attacking rugby, and Toby Smith scored 3 sensational tries.
Hampton then beat Campion 45-10 – a good victory against an excellent rugby school. Many players scored tries, with Tom Kilpatrick scoring a lovely dummy try and Louis Spight, Natty Taylor, Joe Cornell and Ben Conoghan putting in some amazing tackles. With Hampton’s next game, against Whitgift, called off, the victory over Campion was a fitting end to the season.
Next came the Sevens season, and Hampton failed to disappoint, winning all the tournaments they took part in. First was the Warwick Sevens and Hampton started slowly, recording a 10-10 draw against Bishop Wordsworth’s. Next came King Edward’s and Hampton won 25-5 after some good tries by Toby Smith, before beating Solihull 21-5 in a tight game. Next the boys beat St Ambrose College 25-5 and Hampton were crowned champions of Warwick.
Then Hampton played some fantastic rugby in the Ibstock Sevens beating many local state schools and defeating their neighbours St James in the final by 20-5.
Next was the big Surrey Sevens, where Hampton won all their group games to go into the cup competition. They recorded strong victories against Trinity and Caterham before drawing 5-5 against John Fisher School – who had beaten all the teams Hampton had lost to throughout the season. All in all, Hampton finished the season winning 24 out of 27 games in union and Sevens.
“The boys are very proud but we are still looking to improve,” said Tom Kilpatrick. The Hampton boys are already looking forward to next year.