By Tom Ketel
On a wet and windy November day, Hampton’s First XV took on their oldest rivals, Dulwich College, in the round of 32 in the NatWest Schools Cup.
The game started strongly with Nico Luckman finishing off an elegant backs move to dot the ball over underneath the sticks. Ethan Knight easily secured the extras to see Hampton seize an early 7-0 lead. The weather played a large role in the game with both sides employing a strong tactical battle which resulted in many kicks and subsequently dropped balls in torrid conditions.
There was a strong fight back from the Dulwich side, notably from their powerful pack as they managed to squeeze their way through the strong Hampton defence to score a try right in the corner, with their fullback securing the long-range conversion from the touchline.
Although the game had been levelled, the Hampton squad was able to pull together and persevere in the second half, showing great camaraderie and desire. This impetus from the home side paid off with Knight finishing off a well-placed grubber from Max Leman inside the Dulwich 22 to secure the win. It was Knight himself who secured the extras from the boot and the score was poised at 14-7.
Hampton’s defence was tested in the dying minutes but ultimately it was strong enough to cement the 14-7 victory. There was a great supporting turnout for the home team from both boys and parents which undoubtedly allowed the team to gain the extra yard on the opposition. The next round will see Hampton face Harrow away in the last 16 of the Cup.