By Tom Ketel
Following their win against Dulwich in the Schools Cup, the Hampton First XV took on an athletic Henley College side in a match of great intensity.
There was a quick start from the away side with their dominance in the scrum paying off with the seizing of two penalties to put them into a 0-6 lead.
The home side were able to respond vigorously with Nico Luckman dotting the ball down in the corner after some relentless pressure from the home team. The scoreline stood at 5-6 at the half-time break.
The second half followed the pattern of the first with two technical sides relentlessly going at each other. The opponents managed to extend their lead after some early dominance in the half. A fantastic kick, deep within their own territory, utilising the new 50:22 rule, resulted in a Henley lineout. From this they were able to set up an unstoppable driving maul which resulted in them extending their lead to 5-11. They were unable to obtain the extras through the conversion with gave Hampton the optimism they needed.
After several periods of unabating pressure, Hampton, through Henry Donaldson, were able to fight past the brutish defence of Henley to secure the try that was so dearly needed by the hosts. With Max Leman popping over the conversion, Hampton took the lead for the first time in the contest, making the score 12-11 with only a few minutes left to play.
The intensity of the game peaked in the last five minutes with neither side yielding, which resulted in some tense encounters. The referee had already issued an earlier yellow to Henley and followed suit with a further yellow to the away side and then a red to Hampton in the final moments of the game.
With the last kick of the game, Henley College were unable to seize the opportunity to slot a penalty and to give themselves victory. The game ended 12-11 with Hampton only just obtaining the win, in an encounter that was extremely tense throughout. A special congratulations must go to Ollie Tynan for his First XV debut.