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Hampton’s Greatest Sporting Moments, Semi-final Two: The 1986 Triple vs The 1988 Triple
After the First VIII’s Henley success of 1985, which featured in Group Six of Hampton’s Greatest Sporting Moments, expectations were growing as the 1986 regatta season came around. Much of the crew were still young, too – only one member (cox Richard Boulton) left the School.
Hampton’s rowing success had resulted in a swelling of the senior squad, and you know what they say: depth wins championships. The ‘A-Squad’, as the Lion of 1986 called it, had grown to a number which allowed three senior VIIIs, the largest in the School’s history.
Despite the additional depth, the First VIII remained the same as the previous year. This was not entirely unexpected given their successes throughout the regatta season of 1985.
Heading into Hampton Head, the School’s three senior crews were well prepared, and all three crews won their divisions, a feat repeated a. month later at Bedford Head.
Next was Schools’ Head, the vital first part of the Schools’ Head, National Schools and Henley trifecta. Hampton were defending Champions, and duly retained their crown, though it speaks volumes of the First VIII’s credentials on the schoolboy rowing circuit that they would later speak of their disappointment at the tight margin of victory after the race.
As the squad geared up for the regatta season, where they would aim to win a second consecutive Triple, a remarkable achievement was in the works. Competing at Tideway Head with numerous university, international, and club crews (with some coming from abroad), Hampton came an exceptional fourteenth out of 420. This remains one of the best results in the event for a schoolboy crew. Possibly even more stunning was the Second VIII’s success – they finished 37th, beating all other schools aside from their own First VIII.
It was a fitting introduction to a successful regatta season – Hampton would go onto defend their Triple, winning National Schools’ Regatta at a canter, and following that up with Henley glory in July.
In a season where Hampton trained with Cambridge University’s reserve crew and numerous members of the squad gained international honours, the First VIII’s second consecutive Triple warrants great respect when considering the identity of Hampton’s Greatest Sporting Moment.