Over the next term, HSC will be attempting to discover the identity of Hampton’s Greatest Sporting Moment, with your help. This article recounts Calogero Scannella’s ISFA-winning hat-trick for the U15A team in 2015. This will compete against three other moments in Group Four. Vote in our Twitter poll on Friday to decide your favourite moments – the winner will progress to the quarter-final stage!
While Hampton have been extremely successful in ISFA competitions over the years, winning five trophies since the turn of the century, few individuals can claim to have starred so brightly as Calogero Scannella can. After helping his team to the final of the U15A competition in 2015, Scannella took matters into his own hands, scoring three times against Manchester Grammar to secure the cup with a 3-2 victory.
While at U18 level the competition tends to be dominated by the finest schoolboy players, at U15 – in an academic year where education is still compulsory – academy stars turn out in their droves, often for the likes of Whitgift and Millfield, two schools not averse to Sports Scholarships.
It makes winning the U15 Cup all the more difficult, but in 2015, Mr Bolton’s team did just that in the most stunning of fashions thanks to Scannella’s thrilling hat-trick.
After a cup-run to the final which involved beating a star-studded Repton team away in Derbyshire (little did they know what Hampton would do to Repton four years later…) before a thrilling win on penalties in the semi-final at Brentwood School, where former Brentford academy goalkeeper Logan Cullen saved two spot-kicks to send Hampton to the final.
While Cullen was the hero in the semi-final, in the showpiece clash at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium against Manchester Grammar School Hampton’s saviour came in the form of striker Scannella.
Buoyed by the support of hundreds of Hamptonians, the U15As went two goals ahead, Scannella scoring twice to send the travelling faithful into delirium. It didn’t continue as planned, though, as Manchester Grammar hit back twice and levelled the scores.
The final stages of the match were tense as both sides looked to avoid conceding late-on, and extra time was forced as the night got darker and darker and the floodlights shone brighter and brighter.
Having endured something of a relative dry spell after his first two chances, Scannella was awaiting an opportunity to send Hampton further ahead, and in the first half of extra time, it duly arrived,
George Corey, whose stunning late winner at Repton had secured Hampton’s semi-final berth, threaded the ball through to Scannella, who went one-on-one with the Manchester Grammar goalkeeper. Showing no fear of the occasion, Hampton’s star striker sprinted ahead calmly, before chipping the goalkeeper to complete his hat-trick as the rapturous travelling support roared with glee.
Hampton’s defence was strong enough to hold out for the 3-2 victory, returning the ISFA U15 trophy to South-West London two days after the 1st XI had fallen short in the U18 final, losing 4-1 to an impressive Ardingly team.
Scannella has since taken over local football club Walton and Hersham FC, along with six other Hamptonians, including his fellow U15A ISFA winner Jack Newton. One would think, though, that – whatever happens with Walton and Hersham – little will be able to top his exploits on that February night in Burton.