By Max Cardosi
Hampton built up a strong lead in their first home match of the season versus Cranleigh, and proved too strong for their opponents in a hard-fought second half.
Hampton made the running in the opening exchanges. They passed the ball wide and Frank Hall made the first break of the game as he burst through the centre of the pitch.
Cranleigh conceded a series of penalties at the breakdown, which gave Hampton the position they needed. A rolling maul fell short from the line out and after a few phases the ball was lost and a valuable opportunity went with it.
Cranleigh slowly worked their way up the pitch but some excellent defence from Joshua Vergunst secured a knock-on, giving Hampton a scrum on their 10 metre line.
A great scrum move saw Hall run straight through the line, with only the Cranleigh full-back to beat, which he accomplished by running straight round him to secure the first score of the game.
Max Cardosi converted the try to make the score 7-0 to Hampton. The game was back underway and after some excellent phase play, Hampton were awarded a penalty in the Cranleigh 22.
A quick tap-and-go caught the defence off-guard and a great pass into space lead Frank Hall into a gaping hole for a try. The conversion was secured, making the score 14-0 at half time.
In the second half Hampton were not the side they had been earlier, easing off and letting Cranleigh take control.
After some forward play Cranleigh ran the ball wide to give their winger the space to make a break on the wing. A pass inside brought the visitors back into the game with a try and a conversion making the score 14-7.
Then the Cranleigh full-back won the ball to make a darting run through the Hampton defence, leaving him in space before a Hampton tackle brought him down in the nick of time.
But quick ball wide gave Cranleigh the chance they needed to level the score at 14-14 with a good conversion.
Hampton then flicked a switch and came back into the game, reviving the rugby they had played in the first half.
Great tackling and rucking gave Hampton a penalty which they kicked into touch at the 5 metre line. Again a rolling maul fell short but after some strong forward runs, Matt Venner raced over the line to make the score 19-14 to the home team.
Another kick-off gave Finlay Wiseman the ball and he made an excellent run, darting past his opponents to reach the line and finish the game at 24 – 14 to Hampton.