In the third moment of Group One, HSC details the First XI’s journey to the National T20 final at Edgbaston in 2005.
Over the next term, HSC will be attempting to discover the identity of Hampton’s Greatest Sporting Moment, with your help. This article details the First XI’s trip to the National T20 final in 2005, and will compete against three other moments in Group One. Vote in our Twitter poll on Friday to decide your favourite moments – the winner will progress to the quarter-final stage!
Hampton’s Greatest Sporting Moments Group One: First XI reach National T20 final
By the summer of 2005, Hampton sports fans were getting used to following their team on coach trips around England. In the spring, there had been the trip to Leicester City’s Walkers Stadium, to watch the 1st XI football team play Millfield in the final of the ISFA Cup. Now it was high summer, and the coaches were lining up in the car park for the trip to Edgbaston, to watch the cricketers play Felsted School in the final of the T20 Schools competition.
In retrospect, this looks to have been a vintage 1st XI. Leading run-scorers included Akbar Ansari, who finished the season with an average of 71, and went on to captain Cambridge University. Other high achievers include Nick Jupp, better known in years to come as one of the best non-league goalkeepers on the circuit, who averaged nearly 50, and Seb Jewell, who later played Premiership rugby for London Welsh, playing 12 to Gavin Henson’s 13, who in 2005 took a hatful of wickets at an average of 20.
Then there was Toby Roland-Jones. At Hampton, Roland-Jones was an outstanding batsman with a very broad bat and an appetite for big innings. In season 2005, batting in the middle order, he knocked off nearly 600 runs at an average of over 40. When not occupying the crease, he found time for an occasional bowl, finishing the season with a modest 12 wickets (in 15 matches) at an average of 23. A decade on, he’d be reducing the best batting line-up in world cricket to a state of shock in a Lord’s Test match with a penetrative fast-medium attack, but a decade is a long time in cricket, and at Hampton, TRJ was known mainly as a batsman.
In those days, Edgbaston was a run-down cricket ground, pretty much untouched since its heyday in the 1960s. But it was also a ground that could drum up a raucous atmosphere when England played: Hampton were there in late June, a fortnight before England played Australia in the second test of 2005, one of the most famous tests in cricket history. On this occasion, Hampton’s fans did their best to raise the roof as their opening batsmen walked out to face the bowling.
The opposition were Felsted, a cricket school in Essex with a pedigree for producing excellent county and international players: one of them, Nick Knight, the former England opening batsman, was in the ground on this occasion, preparing to present the trophy to the winning team. The odds were on a Felsted victory – they had won the trophy in 2004, its inaugural year, and they knew their way around a T20 match. So it proved: Hampton didn’t score enough runs, and Felsted coasted to victory. “The Twenty20 competition was much expanded,” reported Wisden drily, “but was still won again by Felsted, who beat Hampton in the final at Edgbaston.”
Mr Peter Smith, Teacher i/c, Hampton Sports Chronicle
This moment will be judged in Group One, alongside the First XV’s victory at the St. Joseph’s National Festival in 2015, the First XI’s National T20 final in 2005, and the First VIII’s Triple in 1988.