Hampton Sports Chronicle 2022

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HSC HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE ISSUE 21 - SUMMER 2022

LIONS ROAR U13A TEAM CROWNED ESFA CHAMPIONS

EDITOR 2022: SAM COLVINE EDITOR 2022: SAM COLVINE

The Hampton Sports Chronicle is written and edited by Hampton boys from across the year groups. Editor Summer 2020: Josh Bartholomew


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

HSC HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE

CONTENTS

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Cover Story: Alex Watson and Omer Olcer look back on the U13A team’s stellar season, including a very special ESFA cup run.

Director of Rugby, Mr Andy Beattie, tells Tom Oliver about his career at the top of the game and what he's learnt from coaching at Hampton.

Mr David Clarke recounts the successes of his running career and reminisces about his involvement in Hampton sport.

Blake Cullen looks back on his time playing the game so far. He talks England U19s, the Hundred and mixing with cricketing royalty.

Finlay Hawker gives an insight into road cycling and the challenges of balancing the rigours of his training regime with the small task of his GCSEs.

EDITOR’S NOTE For the first time in three years, 2021-22 has seen the Hampton sporting calendar back to its burgeoning best and HSC has been on hand to chart the trials, but more often triumphs, of Hamptonians past and present. The return of competitive sport has been accompanied, unsurprisingly, by successes for several Hampton sides and individuals, with the U13A footballers, most notably, emerging victorious in their ESFA Cup final (page 4) while the First XI capped off an impressive year with silverware in the Surrey Cup. In addition, following the pandemic, we have sought to combine reports on Hampton’s sporting achievements with the in-depth feature writing that filled much of HSC's pages last year. Our writers explored a range of people and topics and I’d particularly recommend interviews with Floyd Steadman regarding his rugby career and experiences with racial prejudice in sport (page 18) and Mr Clarke, who looks back on his time ‘running things’ in the world of athletics and during his lengthy tenure at the School (page 16). On top of preparing for the publication of the annual magazine, the HSC website has been continually updated throughout the year with an increasing number of talented writers from across the School lending their prowess to our digital space. At the time of writing, over 90 articles detailing an array of sports, have been published on the website and it has been pleasing to see how the quality of writing has progressed over the year. An insight into some of our writing on the website can be found on page 30. HSC this year has very much been a team effort: special thanks must go to Mr Sharkey, for overseeing the entire operation, the Website Office, for assisting in the publication of the magazine and, most importantly, to the writers themselves. Without their diligence and dedication, you wouldn’t be reading this right now! This brings to an end my 6-year involvement with HSC; it has been rewarding to watch it grow over the years and I am excited to see what others can bring to it in the future. SAM COLVINE

HSC writers, 2021-22: Avi Bhatt Arun Crowe Omer Demiral Henry Fagan Joseph Gordon Jack Haynes Josh Hood

Tom Ketel Rufus Lawson Alasdair McIntosh Harry McLusky Josh Millington-Jones Neel Mohindra Omer Olcer

Tom Oliver Jayden Oni Luca Parrish Anuj Srivastav Ollie Swetman Alex Watson Alastair White


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OLLIE STANHOPE From Gold in Tokyo to an MBE from the Queen, Ollie Stanhope OH (2016) talks to HSC about his glittering 2021 on page 10.

Photo: imagecomms


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

YOUNG LIONS ROAR An ESFA final, goals galore and a trophy to top it all off, Alex Watson and Omer Olcer recount the events of an unprecedented season of success for the U13A team.

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BY ALEX WATSON AND OMER OLCER


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It’s been an immense season for the Hampton U13A football team. Under the guidance of their coach Mr Hooper, they reached the semi-finals of the Independent Schools' Football Association (ISFA) Cup and even more impressively came out winners of their national competition, in the English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) Cup. Overall, the team played 29 games, with a staggering 24 won, just four lost and one drawn. On top of this, they scored an astounding 115 goals throughout the course of the season, whilst conceding just 36. Credit must go to striker Rio Felonov-Tzanev, who managed to score 45 of those goals. However, it wasn’t always easy going for the Hampton footballers. At the beginning of the 2021-22 season, they were far from the team they are today. After a couple of fairly convincing victories, including in the first round of ESFA, they had their first taste of defeat in the season as they succumbed to a strong Alleyn’s unit, losing 4-3 despite a hat trick from Felonov-Tzanev. The U13A team responded to this defeat brilliantly, as they first beat Sevenoaks School 8-0 in the ISFA Cup before scraping through to round three of ESFA against a quality Carshalton Boys Sports College, the score 5-4 after extra time. After another win in ESFA against Royal Docks’ Community School, they defeated Haileybury 9-1 in the third round of ISFA.

This was the performance that really kick-started the season of the U13A team. Some of their best football was on display, with Felonov-Tzanev scoring four and the Hampton defensive line, comprising Felix Burt, Sooho Jin, Alessandro Cardinale and Freddie Thwaite, seemed to go up a level, though they still had a long way to go until they would the reach the level which saw them described as a ‘yellow brick wall’ by the commentator of the ESFA final. After this victory, Hampton became simply unstoppable. They continued their winning run with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Glyn School, and then managed to defeat St Thomas More High School 3-1 in round four of ESFA thanks to a brace from Cardinale. Two more wins were secured the following week, as they defeated St John’s School 3-0 in ISFA, with two goals from Finley Milner, and then beat Ardingly College in a routine 3-1 victory. The Hampton U13A side had now essentially broken through into what you could call ‘the big rounds’ of ESFA and ISFA, and they showed no signs of stopping as they defeated Ravens Wood School 5-1 to progress into the ESFA round of 32, with Marcus Solomon and Felonov-Tzanev scoring two goals apiece. Though their winning run was halted after a 2-2 draw against a strong Whitgift team in a friendly, the U13A footballers continued to go


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

from strength to strength as they defeated Woolwich Polytechnic School 4-2 in the next round of ESFA. This has to be one of the most notable games in Hampton’s season, one which saw them go very close to being knocked out of ESFA and one which displayed a new side to the U13A team - a side of grit, courage and determination. With the Hamptonians 2-1 down with under 15 minutes to play, they managed to score three goals late in the match, with Cardinale converting a penalty and Felonov-Tzanev scoring two to complete his hat trick. Next, it was time for the quarter-final match on their ISFA journey, as they travelled to Alleyn’s School hoping for revenge after their loss earlier in the season. However, this U13A side was not the same one that had started the 2021-22 season - the defence was going from strength to strength, the midfield was much improved and the attack was on another level. This was evident as they showed how much they had grown over the past year, beating Alleyn’s 4-2 thanks to another hat trick from striker Felonov-Tzanev. The cup games kept coming, and they now had an ESFA round of 16 game against Kingsdale Foundation School. A tough, hard-fought battle against a strong side, the game ended 1-0 to Hampton. Felonov-Tzanev may have grabbed the glory, scoring the only goal, but it was the Hampton defence who played the most significant part in the game, as they excelled in what was surely their best performance of the season, keeping a clean sheet and securing a Hampton victory. After a 2-0 win against Abingdon School, the U13 team set off on the long journey to Devon to

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play Torquay Boys’ Grammar School in the ESFA quarter-final. The big pitch the match was played on thoroughly suited Hampton, allowing them to play their best football and run out 6-1 winners. Goals were scored by Solomon (2), Balti Birts, FelonovTzanev, Omer Olcer and Alex Watson. Just three days later, however, and it was time for another tough encounter; an ISFA semi-final against Dulwich College at home. Unfortunately, it was the visitors that rose to the occasion, and though you could say that the cause of defeat may have been fatigue from the long trip and match just three days earlier, or the hole in the midfield left by Birts, who was unwell, you have to admit that on the day Hampton were simply outclassed, losing 2-0. Not to worry, however, as they had another semifinal to contest, this time in ESFA against Enfield Grammar School away. Learning from their mistakes in the ISFA semi-final, the U13A team put together a much improved performance, and thanks to a brace from Felonov-Tzanev and one from Solomon they ran out 3-1 winners to send them through to the prestigious ESFA final. They would have a long time to wait, however, as it wouldn’t be played until May at The Hawthorns, home of West Bromwich Albion. In the meantime, several friendlies were played, including two pulsating encounters against Whitgift School, the first of which was lost and the second won. Other games included a 3-0 victory over Royal Russell and a 4-0 win over Wimbledon College. However, after a break of more than two months, it was finally time for the ESFA final, where they would play Chesterfield High School…


RUGBY At the end of a long and busy season, the Hampton U13A team travelled to The Hawthorns to play their last and most vital match of their season against Chesterfield High School. Although it was one of the biggest games of their lives, the boys sat their Latin assessment in the morning, before travelling to Birmingham. After a delayed kick off, the team in black and yellow started the game with energy, yet a few minutes in, Hampton dropped back, playing a low backline with less pressing in the middle third. This allowed Chesterfield’s number 6 and 8 to get much of the ball in the midfield which led to numerous long-distance attempts. However, a back four that had been improved and moulded to perfection throughout the season proved too good for Chesterfield’s attackers. Although the opposition looked like the better team, Hampton drew first blood when Thwaite won the ball from Chesterfield’s winger and played a lovely floating long ball over the back four into Felonov-Tzanev’s stride who saw the ‘keeper run out and coolly lobbed it over him into the empty net, taking the lead against the run of play. In the second half, Hampton changed their playing style and stopped booting the ball up to their captain as it had become too predictable. The U13A team started playing more attractive football, having the lion’s share of possession, yet, despite their improvement in performance, Chesterfield equalised early in the half. Nonetheless, this did not stop Hampton from fighting on given that they looked like the stronger side with numerous chances. Unfortunately for Hampton, the scoreboard didn’t reflect their hard work in the second 35 minutes as many of their chances failed to find the back of the net.

The full 70 minutes of normal time wasn’t enough to decide the winner of the ESFA Cup and so it went to penalties, which the Hampton side had been practising, as well as training how to control their emotions from the spot. Hampton won the toss and Cardinale, who had scored many spot kicks in the season, powered his attempt into the right-hand corner. Next up was Chesterfield’s number 13 who smashed it into the roof of the net. Caspar Strouts then scored a brilliant penalty which ricocheted off the inside of the post into the net. Chesterfield’s second penalty was scored by the man of the match, Noah Roberts, who, unfortunately for Hampton, just squeezed it past the fingertips of the Hampton ‘keeper Seb Rautenberg. Third in line for Hampton was Adam Malik who sent the ‘keeper one direction and then laced it into the opposite corner of the net. After Malik’s composed spot kick, Chesterfield’s penalty was denied by Rautenberg who guessed the right way and gave Hampton the advantage in the shootout. Following Rautenberg’s save was Hampton’s number 10, Faris Salman, who kept his cool from 12 yards and passed the ball into the right corner. Chesterfield were broken but not beaten as their fourth taker gave his school some hope by powering it past Rautenberg’s reach to make the score 4-3. Last up was Burt who had the chance to win the ESFA Cup for Hampton. Under immense pressure, he kept his cool to strike the ball past Chesterfield’s ‘keeper and make his team the first U13A team in Hampton’s history to be crowned ESFA Champions.

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HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

MR ANDY BEATTIE: NEW IMPETUS FROM OLD BOY

BY TOM OLIVER

Director of Rugby, Mr Andy Beattie (OH) 1997, talks to HSC writer Tom Oliver about his professional playing career and life as a coach at Hampton. On 29 May 2004, Mr Andy Beattie walked out in front of 59,000 spectators onto the hallowed turf of Twickenham. His Bath side, who he had started every league match for that season, were set to take on Wasps for the Premiership title. Perhaps it was fitting that the greatest occasion in Mr Beattie’s young career was to take place in South West London. Before making Bath’s number 6 jersey his own, even before his successes as part of an eclectic Exeter side, he had played only three miles away from the home of English rugby. For three seasons, Mr Beattie turned out for Hampton School’s First XV, captaining the side in his final year. Despite the tight loss his Bath side suffered that day, it was a homecoming of sorts. 18 years on from that match, having amassed a total of 209 appearances for Bath and established himself as one of Hampton’s greatest rugby graduates, events have come full circle for Mr Beattie. “What I try to say to the boys is ‘make memories together that you can take away for the rest of your life,'” he explains. Having experienced the game at almost all levels as a player, and now a coach, Mr Beattie himself certainly possesses some of those special rugby memories. ‘The boys’ in question are, naturally, Hampton’s current First XV squad, the squad that Mr Beattie, in his new capacity as Director of Rugby, is hoping to create more of those moments with over the coming seasons. “Now, it’s their time to put the process into place. I love seeing players work things out for themselves on the pitch,” elaborates the former flanker with striking modesty. Nothing about the way Mr Beattie carries himself suggests complacency or a desire to rest on his considerable previous achievements, with his continuing love for the game clear in his tone. “Coaching”, he continues, “is something I really enjoy.” Since his retirement, and subsequent return to coach at the School, Mr Beattie has spent a great deal of time working with other age groups at Hampton and experiencing the sport from a different perspective. Upon arrival, he quickly noted that “boys, especially in the first team, are far more

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physical than when I was here.” As Mr Beattie himself admits, “the game has definitely moved on” in recent years, as signalled by the presence of aspects such as regular strength and conditioning programs at Hampton and improved nutrition even at school level. Mr Beattie concludes that “it’s better to watch in my opinion, the skillset is far higher amongst our boys, from the under 12 level all the way through, it’s really good.” In his final school year Mr Beattie featured alongside future England greats for the country’s U18 side, including Mike Tindall and, most notably, Jonny Wilkinson. Pondering the epic career of the latter, he suggests that “it was obvious he was going to be a superstar. He was always the last one out on the training pitch; we’d all be waiting on the coach an hour after the game, and he’d still be kicking at goal.” After leaving Hampton, Mr Beattie headed West, where he combined his studies at Exeter University with playing for the town’s club side. That side was successful in the championship, with Mr Beattie playing a role in the early stages of the club’s rise to domestic hegemony under Rob Baxter. “Back then, it would’ve been semi-pro,” he recalls, “It was a great experience. Rob Baxter at the time balanced his farming duties with playing. We had pig farmers, marines and even students like myself.”


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Mr Beattie made a considerable step up after the conclusion of his sports science degree, joining the great Bath side of the 2000s, the club’s golden era. “It was an eye-opener, playing with seasoned internationals I’d been watching on the TV and had so much respect for. [Being around those professionals] gave me a hunger to get better every training session.” Like most young players in similar situations, he concedes, however, “it took a year or so” to adapt to the unmatched physicality of the elite level immediately after university. “As you probably know, most students’ diets are not the most nutritious,” he points out. Once he had settled into things at Bath though, Mr Beattie became a force to be reckoned with, starting every league game in the 2003-04 campaign, which culminated in that 10-6 Premiership final loss to Wasps. “We’d topped the table that season by a few points, and we were leading that game until the final few minutes when we threw an interception, and Wasps ran the length of the pitch and scored. It was gutting, but ultimately, I’m really proud to have played in a Premiership final.” He's quick to add that “I’m also proud that Louis [Lynagh, Harlequins winger and fellow Old Hamptonian] has gone on and won the Premiership.” Scoring twice in crucial moments for Quins during their win in the 2021 final, Lynagh worked with Mr Beattie at Hampton and emulated the former Bath man in captaining the School’s First XV. “It’s fantastic, it’s the biggest prize in club rugby,” he says of Lynagh’s achievement. In February 2005, Mr Beattie broke his leg, falling awkwardly after a line-out for England A against France A. Having been on the fringes of the England first team, the injury was a huge blow and ruled him out for a considerable period. The positivity with which he discusses the incident is testament to his resilience. “We had great physios at Bath and great people around me helped me to get back, but ultimately you always miss playing, you’re worried that someone else might take your shirt.”

His refusal to let himself be brought down by the experience is summarised by his view that injuries are “a part of sport, it’s about how you deal with those things and how you battle back from them.” Bath achieved redemption for their Premiership final loss four years on, triumphing in the European Challenge Cup in 2008, with the showpiece final taking place against Worcester on the neutral battlefield of Kingsholm. For Mr Beattie, the victory of 24-16 was bittersweet. “I was injured in the semifinal, it was gutting.” Despite missing the final, Bath coach Steve Meehan chose Mr Beattie to hand out his teammates’ jerseys the night before the prestigious game. “It was a big honour, a privilege, there were World Cup winners in that side, I’m really proud to have been a part of that squad.” When I enquire about the favourite games of his professional career, alongside the Challenge Cup run, Mr Beattie points me in the direction of the 2006 Heineken Cup semi-final. “We played down in San Sebastian, it was a football stadium, Real Sociedad’s ground, against Biarritz.” Although the French side went on to the final, he still remembers the afternoon fondly. “It was a cracking sunny day and an amazing atmosphere; we were in front of 30,000 Bath fans.” While Hampton may not be able to boast such sheer numbers of supporters, or a ground once graced by Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale, Mr Beattie is the first to admit that “we have some mouth-watering fixtures against other big schools, some fantastic tournaments throughout the year.” Reflectively, he emphasises that in the first team, “you’re playing with your friends, who you’ve been in school with for five, maybe even seven years, and you’re making special memories together that you can take into your next walk of life. It passes by quickly; you get to the Upper Sixth and you suddenly realise ‘this is the last time I’m playing' so make memories and enjoy it with your friends, that’s the most important thing.”


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

STANHOPE'S GOLDEN YEAR Photo: imagecomms

It was a year like no other for rower Ollie Stanhope OH (2016). HSC editor Sam Colvine catches up with the Paralympian. There was an air of uncertainty last time HSC spoke to Ollie Stanhope in the spring of 2020. The pandemic was beginning to tighten its grip on everyday life, with cancellations punctuating the sporting calendar, including, most importantly for the rower, the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. In those precarious days, Stanhope could not have envisioned the culmination of the next two years: a Gold medal round his neck and the letters MBE at the end of his name. Despite heralding from a rowing background, with his father, Richard, securing a Silver medal at the 1980 Olympic Games, Stanhope’s road to success began in triathlon, eventually transitioning to the boat on the advice of a form tutor from Halliford School, which he attended until the completion of his GCSEs. In 2014, rowing coach Mr Neil Double introduced him to Hampton School for the Sixth Form. Stanhope’s time at the School was vital for his career and he attributes much of his technical and mental progression to the coaching and culture at the Boat House: “The system is up there with

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the national team. Everybody gets involved and everybody helps out.” Attaining several accolades with the Second VIII, such as qualification for the Temple Challenge Cup in 2015, Stanhope entered the rowing programme at Oxford Brookes University after leaving Hampton. Up to this point, his career had been accented by one smooth transition after another. However, at university, this continuous progress was stymied – his rowing machine scores were insufficient, and he was cut. Despite being born with mild cerebral palsy, Stanhope had competed in able-bodied rowing until this abrupt setback and a return to the competitive side of the sport appeared inconceivable. However, when a call came from Peter Sheppard, then GB Rowing’s Chief Coach for U23 and Juniors, he was told that he could classify as a disabled athlete – a second chance. Naturally, Stanhope was hesitant, pondering the extent of his disability: “I’m not really as disabled as what you see at the top end of Paralympic sport.” In the end, his doubts were assuaged as he was double over the level necessary to qualify. With his career rapidly resuscitated, Stanhope’s passion for rowing, sustained by his involvement at Molesey Boat Club, ensured that he accepted the opportunity. “I love the sport. Rowing has a really good community – it’s a smaller sport and everyone looks after each other. Most of the time, coaches are volunteers, especially at clubs, so you get a certain community feel around it.”


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Stanhope's PR3 Mix4+ team contest the Paralympic semi-final

Success in abundance followed this portentous decision, with Stanhope largely competing in the PR3 Mix4+ category. Gold medals ensued as he climbed onto the top step of the podium at a trio of World Rowing events in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Indeed, Stanhope dubs the latter as their “best year as a crew,” reaching the zenith of collective performance – Paralympic glory surely beckoned in 2020. Yet, with the Tokyo Games just months away, a chance to reach the uppermost echelon of para rowing was snatched from his crew as the pandemic arrived, and the competition was moved to 2021. In the year that followed, Stanhope made individual gains, sticking to a disciplined schedule of indoor training. However, the lack of collective practice detracted from the crew’s performance, with injuries plaguing his teammates. “You need to build in to rowing more because you build the crew momentum, the technique, how you move; you build that through the cycle so, when you don’t sit in a boat for six months, you lose that feel.” By the spring of 2021, the pandemic had waned sufficiently for the games to go ahead, albeit a year behind schedule. “It was like living in a kettle.” This was Stanhope’s incisive assessment of the Covid games. Unsurprisingly, the rigours of the testing regime, sometimes at 4am before training, and social distancing stipulations had repercussions for performance, with the fear of the dreaded second red line adding “stress to the crew.” Nonetheless, the competitors dealt resolutely with the challenges that faced them, and the pre-tournament preparation ascribed to the crew was fruitful: “The team as a whole did a really good job building round [the pandemic]. We had really good facilities as well as a pre-camp at a university in Keio which was really nice.” Finally, Stanhope’s time arrived, again competing in the PR3 Mix4+. After a routine heat, the crews faced a strong head wind in the final, reducing the affair to a gruelling race of attrition. Despite a poor start, the GB outfit moved past the Americans at the 1km mark and, when they were a length clear, he began to think: “Now I can relax.” In the end, it was a

Photo: imagecomms

dominant victory for the crew, securing Gold by over ten seconds – Stanhope had reached the very top. “The main emotion was relief. It was a dream of mine to even race for Team GB and I thought I might get a year or two if I was lucky. Most of the hard stuff we do as para rowers is behind the scenes; we do a silly amount of mileage, so we don’t need to worry about racing.” As if his year could not get any better, an MBE followed his golden glory, awarded for services to rowing. The permanence of the accolade was what particularly struck him: “It stays with you for life while you’re only a Paralympic champion for four years. Everybody understands what it takes and what it means.” However, the familiar spectre of Covid shadows Stanhope even here – the backlog engendered by the pandemic has prevented him from collecting the honour. Stanhope is part of a long line of Hampton rowing heritage: it is three decades since the Searle brothers won gold at the 1992 Olympic Games, while five Old Hamptonians were involved in the University Boat Race this year. So, what does he believe is the root of this success? A culture conducive to achievement is certainly a factor: “We all look after each other.” Stanhope also emphasises the importance of highquality coaching at the School: “Neil [Double], Helen [Taylor] and Colin [Greenaway] do a really good job of instilling strong technical foundations into the boys.” When these elements are combined with ardent dedication, it is clear to see why so many Hamptonians go on to enjoy success at the pinnacle of the sport. Although Stanhope has triumphed at the highest level of para rowing, he has more silverware in his sights, aspiring to win in both the pair and the four in the next instalment of the World Rowing event. “Ultimately, I’m just trying to enjoy it. You only get so many strokes out of your body so I’m trying to make the most of them.” Having emerged from 2021 as a Paralympic champion and with an MBE to his name, no one can doubt that he is doing so.


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

FIRST XI SEASON REVIEW HSC writer Luca Parrish charts the highs and lows of this year's First XI footballers, from a pulsating ISFA clash to victory in the Surrey Cup. With the football season now behind us, it’s probably a good time to reflect on the exploits of this year’s First XI. The class of 2021-22 have enjoyed a strong year: they came painfully close to contesting an ISFA final, while a Surrey Cup success at the end of the season capped off many enjoyable afternoons on the 3G and in away games throughout the campaign. One such afternoon saw a pulsating ISFA quarterfinal clash against a highly capable Repton outfit which I was lucky enough to be in attendance for and write about, with Hampton battling back with immense spirit to emerge with a 3-2 victory. Despite the defensive endeavours of the Hampton backline, the team had to endure a 2-0 deficit going into the half-time break, a somewhat flattering scoreline for the opposition given that the First XI’s performance had been far from feeble. It was Nat Woolaghan who proved to be the difference that day: with a win for the First XI appearing ostensibly improbable at the interval, he found a way to poke home after twisting and turning his way elegantly through the box and, after a Sam Evans equaliser, the midfielder stepped up once more, securing a pivotal winner late in the second period of extra time. I wrote in my report that the nature of the performance and the victory, enhanced by the buoyant Hampton faithful, would see them in good stead mentally in the later rounds, but sadly they succumbed to a very strong Bradfield side in the semi-final.

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In reality, a semi-final of a national competition is always a fine effort, and the team could most certainly take great pride in their run. The Upper Sixth core of the squad, many of whom had been at the School since First Year, had tasted cup success before, but were only the joint winners of the ESFA U16 Cup due to a Covid-induced cancellation of the final, so the Surrey Cup, the final of which the First XI reached after a 2-1 victory against Richard Challoner School, represented a fantastic opportunity to fight for silverware in their final outing for Hampton. It is important too, not to overlook the outstanding contributions of Lower Sixth and Fifth Year boys in the First XI’s season, with Fifth Year Conrad Knight proving an ever-reliable custodian in goal, where he will surely remain in the upcoming years.


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Wilson’s School were the opponents in the culmination of this year’s Surrey Cup, and as Captain Jonah Blake explained to me, it was clear that the main threat they were going to pose was always likely to be vertical passes on the transition combining with runs in behind to stretch the Hampton backline, a backline always high up the pitch to facilitate the front foot, highpressing football the team employs. A cagey first half belied the ability down on the pitch, but one always felt that should the game open up into a more fluid encounter it would be Hampton who would gain the upper hand. Nevertheless, it was Wilson’s who were the first to find the back of the net. A lapse of concentration in midfield left the ball up for grabs, and when the deflection from the resulting challenge ended up in a critically dangerous area, Wilson’s were able to pounce, and a low shot was rifled into the Hampton net. The next part of the game can be characterised largely as a period of Hampton frustration. The game drifted, and Blake described it very aptly as looking as if it was going to turn into “one of those 'what if' games.” While Hampton remained calm, as always under the watchful eyes of Mr Burke and Mr Ritchie, they were unable to land enough meaningful blows, reduced to probing and recycling, prevented from doing genuine damage by a Wilson’s team who, it must be said, were doing a fine job of keeping them at arm’s length. The game was begging for someone to grab it by the scruff of the neck, or at least for someone to provide a pivotal moment, and eventually it fell to the captain, Blake, to provide such a moment. Late in the day, having come forward from the

centre of defence, Blake found himself at the back post, with the ball on his forehead for him to nod back across goal into the corner, making the score 1-1. The final few minutes of the game passed with little of note to report, before penalties were required to end the stalemate. Here, Hampton were imperious in both departments; Knight made himself a hero with two fine stops, clearing the way for Player of the Season, Ben Bird, an indefatigable force for the team throughout the year, to dispatch the final spot kick, a penalty Blake described as “never in doubt,” indicating the confidence with which Hampton approached the whole situation, and ensuring them victory in what was a tough and at times torrid affair. Blake, bowing out as First XI Captain with a trophy, made sure to say a few words to the team about the value of this triumph in the changing rooms after the cup was secured, with the boys thanking the coaches and with forward Jack Da Costa able to deploy his winning playlist at long last. Moreover, the players were able to share a moment of celebration with the hardy souls who had travelled to support them, a group who were a notable feature of so many games the side has played. This represented a fitting end to not only the cup run, but also to the season as a whole, as well as to the footballing time at Hampton of a group of Upper Sixth boys who have been exemplary servants. The boys can hold their heads high after ending their time playing football for the School on a hard-fought and well-deserved victory.


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

COURTSIDE: AN INSIGHT INTO HAMPTON TENNIS

BY VISHAL SAHA

Many different sports are played at Hampton, however one that doesn't always dominate the headlines is tennis. HSC writer Vishal Saha explores the world of tennis and how it works at Hampton. Tennis has grown in popularity over the years at Hampton and is one of the many sports options offered. Although boys predominantly choose to do rugby and football as their ‘games’ option, many opt for the tennis courts instead. This is especially true during the summer term when the weather has improved, meaning Hamptonians are more inclined to pick up their racquets and make the most of the sunshine. Additionally, there is an opportunity to play tennis during one of the various lunchtime training squads which run throughout the academic year – for both ‘development’ and ‘elite’ players. Hampton are fortunate to have a dedicated tennis coach and team of staff, who support the boys’ tennis. Coaching is coordinated by newly-appointed Head of Tennis, Classics teacher Mr Kit Saunders. Additionally, Navneet Maan (an LTA [Lawn Tennis Association] registered coach) and Mr Langton provide invaluable assistance in tennis training. They regularly lead a variety of tennis drills and exercises to help strengthen the different aspects of the boys’ game. At the moment, the A team plays competitive matches in every year group, as well as two Senior teams. The tennis calendar tends to be particularly busy (especially during the summer term) which provides Hamptonians with the opportunity to take part in matchplay in both singles and doubles. The Hampton teams enter a range of different tournaments and competitions; these include the Surrey League competition for all age groups, an independent school league, and two LTA competitions for the Seniors. To understand more about the plans for the expansion of tennis at Hampton, I spoke to Head of Tennis, Mr Saunders, who has been playing tennis from a very early age. From the age of five, Mr Saunders began training at Bath University and then moved into their development and performance squads. Unfortunately, when he moved to secondary school, he was unable to play as frequently, but enjoyed picking tennis back up at University. Mr Saunders hopes to oversee the growth of Tennis and has ambitious goals for the future of

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the sport at Hampton. He tells me, “My aspirations for Tennis are twofold. Firstly, I want to make it a more accessible sport by providing Hamptonians with more opportunities to train during lunchtimes and Saturdays. I am also keen to create B teams in each year, so that pupils have opportunities for matchplay against other schools.” On the other end of the spectrum, Mr Saunders explains that he is still “keen to support and develop boys who have played more tennis” by progressing further into the more competitive and challenging national competitions. With regards to what makes the sport so special at Hampton, Mr Saunders says it is “the enjoyment that pupils get from playing doubles.” Doubles is a version of the sport which many younger players rarely play, but it allows you to rotate more and play with your friends. Currently, Hampton has six all-weather tennis courts (three acrylic and three painted tarmac courts), offering plenty of space for a range of different abilities to play. However, at the time of writing, plans are underway for the construction of five new tennis courts, designed with ‘TigerTurf’ surface. This is an artificial grass surface which can be played in all conditions and will be a welcome addition to the School site, as the courts will offer extra space to enjoy the game. When asked about the best thing about Tennis at Hampton, Mr Saunders remarks, “I would say the boys’ willingness to compete. The summer term is always incredibly busy and the fact that Hamptonians are consistently so keen to come and play matches each week amazes me.”


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CULTIVATING CRICKETING SUCCESS HSC writer Avi Bhatt speaks to Mr Chris Harrison, one of Hampton's longest-serving cricket coaches. Mr Chris Harrison has played cricket with some of the greats and overseen the cricketing journey of hundreds of young players. He works as a coach for several local clubs, runs School coaching sessions for all ages and gives one-on-one lessons to help with specific techniques. When he was a child, Mr Harrison was interested in nearly every sport, from football to cricket and tennis. He describes himself as “sports-mad” and he was sure that whatever he did when he grew up would be linked to sport. After joining Lytham St Anne’s High School, near Blackpool, he realised that he was better at cricket than the other sports he played. At this time he tried everything the game had to offer – bowling, batting, wicket-keeping and even attempted to play left-handed – which helped not only develop the way he played but also brought him closer to the sport. He played in the Lancashire Schools System and with St Anne’s Cricket Club, which happened to be the same club that the great Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff played at. They spent a lot of time playing alongside each other at a very high standard of cricket. In his late teens, Mr Harrison’s talent earned him a scholarship to Worcester University, made possible by Worcestershire Cricket Club, where he had the opportunity to take his cricket to the next level by travelling the world, playing the sport wherever he went. This included tours to Asia, South Africa and Australia, where he had the opportunity to live in Perth for six months. Mr Harrison describes these moments as an “amazing experience,” which allowed him to explore the world but still nurture his love of cricket. When his time at Worcester University ended, he did not leave with a professional cricket contract, but still wanted to keep playing cricket. He decided to try for the Lancashire Second XI, playing with the side for a brief period of time. By now, he had shared a cricket pitch with and against many memorable players including batsman Mark Chilton and England’s Marcus Trescothick. Although he was still enjoying himself, it was during this period that he opted to look into other career options alongside cricket. Reflecting on this time, Mr Harrison says that he realised more and more that, although he was very good at cricket, in the elite environment he played in “other people were better,” which means they were given places in higher teams.

In 2000, Mr Harrison came to London as a sports teacher at a local school, whilst still playing cricket for pleasure. After gaining coaching experience, he came up with the idea to create a cricket coaching business, the obvious choice with his playing career coming to an end. He approached Hampton School in 2005 with a plan aimed at enhancing Hanworth Road’s cricketing offering and the School was keen to work with him. What was particularly innovative was his use of video analysis, a new idea at the time to record cricketing techniques to help improve them. Soon he began coaching pupils of all ages and gradually expanded his business to cover Surrey, Middlesex and South West London. He’s been coaching ever since, and has seen hundreds of players develop their skills and progress in the game. These include players who have represented England, such as Zafar Ansari, Toby Roland-Jones, and, more recently, Blake Cullen. When talking about these people, one thing comes to Mr Harrison’s mind – they knew how to balance their cricket careers with other factors in their lives, such as school and socialising. He takes particular satisfaction from being able to watch the hard work that players put in to become better at the game, whilst also enjoying playing it. “To play a sport you do not need to be the best,” he says, “but you need to be focused on the sport, and dedicated to learning. This is the only way to improve.” Although becoming a coach was not his original plan, Mr Harrison says that it has shown him much more about sport than he could ever have imagined. Being able to guide players in their journey to becoming better and seeing the hard work is rewarding, not only for themselves, but for him too. He says that he likes coaching because it allows you to see people of all abilities benefitting from sport: “Sport has given me everything from friendships to a career, and coaching allows me to give that to others.” His advice to anyone who doesn't play cricket is that they should just give it a go. “Hampton has such great sporting culture so there is no reason not to try it just for fun. Come to a net session and see what it’s like.” For those who are looking for a way to get better at a sport, he recommends to “focus on the sport and put in the hard work to get better,” whilst also listening “to the advice that your coaches give you.”


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

MR CLARKE: RUNNING THINGS

BY HENRY FAGAN

Mr David Clarke is a familiar face to generations of Hamptonians, in the History Department, out on the sports fields and on the many Adventure Society trips. Henry Fagan catches up with him to find out about his life as an athlete. Mr David Clarke has taught at Hampton for nearly 40 years but how many Hamptonians know about his illustrious running career? Having competed internationally for Great Britain in cross country, road running and track and field, he is still an avid runner, a stalwart more locally for Hercules Wimbledon Athletics Club and coaches the School cross country team. He even has a race named after him: the Dave Clarke mile. Mr Clarke grew up locally and started running at his prep school, where he raced (but never won!) the interschool 800m; he then moved to St Paul’s School in Barnes, where his running journey really began. In his first national competition, the English Schools’ Cross Country Championships, Mr Clarke finished 169th, however, by the time he left school, he had managed to lower this position to a staggering 16th, hence showing real promise. Up to this point, he only (!) ran 10-15 miles each week: a relatively low mileage for a runner of his calibre. Between school and university, he decided to take a year out in order to really focus on his running and, as he put it, “started to train seriously.” During this time, he won his first Surrey Junior Cross Country title and South of England Cross Country Junior title, defending these titles a year later and running in his first World Cross Country Championships where he finished 23rd. At that time, there was “no real professional running scene” since it was predominantly an amateur sport with no money involved, though this was soon to change. His successes on both the track and in cross country continued to snowball, and over the next few years he went on to win the British 5000m track championships and represented Great Britain at 5000m in the World Athletics Championships. He also won the National Senior Cross Country Championships three times and qualified for the British team in the World Cross Country Championships an astonishing 12 times. In four of these championships, he helped the Great Britain team win one Bronze and three Silver medals, displaying world class talent by finishing in the top ten places three times, with a best of seventh.

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He also managed to beat Henry Rono from Kenya in a 10,000m race in Florence, Italy. He described Rono as “one of the greats in the running world,” an athlete who at that time held the 3000m steeplechase, the 5000m and 10,000m world records! When asked about his running role models, Mr Clarke immediately named four: Dave Bedford (British runner known for breaking the 10,000m world record), Sir Brendan Foster (Olympic Bronze medallist and previous world record holder in the 3000m), Emiel Puttemans (Belgian Olympic Silver medallist and three-time world record holder), and Douglas Wakiihuri (Kenyan marathoner who won five separate marathons and secured a Silver medal in the Olympic marathon). Mr Clarke particularly admired Puttemans, the Belgian legend in distance running, who was “very gracious in defeat” when he lost to Mr Clarke! He was also very fond of Wakiihuri, the Commonwealth Games and London Marathon champion, who he raced in a distance competition in Sweden and who invited Mr Clarke to share lunch – showing true sportsmanship and kindness.


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Mr Clarke remembers some exceptional runners at Hampton, in particular Gareth Creagh OH (1995), who held the School’s First Year 1500m record for thirty two years until it was broken by Marcus Solomon in 2021, and who he coached to represent England at both track and cross country, and Sam Perkins OH (2006) who won the Middlesex Schools’ Cross Country Championships as an U19 athlete. The future of running at Hampton is looking bright with two recent wins at the Richmond Borough Championships, success in the Middlesex Championships and three runners competing in this year’s English Schools’ Cross Country Championships.

One of the most difficult accomplishments in running, and perhaps even sports in general, is breaking the four-minute barrier for the mile. Despite being primarily a longer distance runner, with his prevalence in cross country races and even a win at the Stockholm Marathon, Mr Clarke achieved this amazing feat in 1982 when he ran 3:56.95 for the mile, finishing second at Crystal Palace while representing Great Britain, embedding himself as one of Britain’s greatest runners. However, all this success did not come without its setbacks. Mr Clarke missed two Olympics due to both tendonitis and an achilles injury. He also damaged his back on a building site as a student, so had to adapt his training for many months after this. He still managed to compete exceptionally well even though it was later discovered that he had fractured one of his vertebrae! Nearly 40 years ago, during the peak of his running, Mr Clarke joined the PE and History departments at Hampton, making him the longest-serving teacher at the School. He claims that “there have been many skills which [he] has been able to transfer from [his] running career to teaching.” He has been able to continue to “encourage and inspire students,” like he did in his running, and help them to improve either academically through his History lessons, or physically through PE. What about other sporting passions? Mr Clarke said that he always wanted to be a cricketer and has always “love[d] taking part in any outdoor activity such as rowing, hiking or climbing.” This is still a prominent theme in his life as you can find him running both the Adventure Society trips and the Duke of Edinburgh expeditions for Hamptonians.

Mr Clarke has shared great wisdom with Hamptonians over the years, from the classroom to the playing fields, however he has three main tips for those getting into running or wanting to improve: “The key to running is consistency – don’t go too hard too soon; think big and start small – no one becomes an elite athlete overnight and you have to pace yourself; and finally remember why you are doing the sport – for fun!”


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

FLOYD STEADMAN: TRAILBLAZING RUGBY STAR Arun Crowe, Omer Olcer and Alex Watson catch up with Hampton School Governor and Rugby Union star Floyd Steadman about his career, and racial prejudice in sport. With an illustrious career of 469 matches for top Rugby Union side Saracens, and many years spent working at some of England’s top schools, Mr Floyd Steadman is a role model for aspiring rugby players and hard-working pupils alike. Now a governor at Hampton School, Mr Steadman had it far from easy during his career, facing many difficulties and challenges along the way. We had the privilege of talking to him about his career and the prejudice which he faced during his playing days.

In Mr Steadman’s words, the coach “obviously saw something that he liked in me” and decided that it would be the 15-man sport that he would be playing throughout his time at his new school.

We began by asking Mr Steadman how he first entered into the world of rugby - when did his love for the game first ignite and who introduced him to it? His response was a fascinating one, as he highlighted how he had just started attending a comprehensive school after passing the 11+. Comprehensive schools had just been introduced, and were part of a new system, with Mr Steadman’s place of learning being a mixture of two educational institutions: a grammar school and a secondary modern school.

To put it bluntly, Mr Steadman’s response was… “Well, yes!” He likes to think that he was “a talented sportsman, and that perhaps if [he] was pointed towards the other group [he] would be a famous footballer, earning millions!”

There he was, lined up along with 350 other pupils, including 170 boys, ready for his first games lesson. He may have pondered what sport he was going to participate in (it was impossible to do both football and rugby since all fixtures were on Saturdays). However, there was no need for him to choose, as it turned out that he had no choice in the sport he would take part in – the PE teachers decided. Fortunately for him, and the rugby fanbase in general, he was directed towards rugby.

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The question has to be considered, though: what if the PE coach did not point Mr Steadman towards rugby? What if he decided that football would be his chosen sport? Would he still be the sporting legend that he is today?

We then asked him if he could tell us more about his career as a rugby player; what are the moments he still remembers today and what are the ups and downs of playing rugby professionally?


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Little did he know that this decision would shape the remainder of his time playing rugby, as he ended up appearing a massive 469 times for Saracens throughout his time at the top, captaining them on many occasions. His brilliant performances for them even meant that he challenged for a spot in the England team. Although he wasn’t picked to represent his country on an international level, he was certainly considered many times and may have faced setbacks that other players did not. In his opinion, one of the main reasons he wasn't chosen “was because,” to put it simply, “he was black.”

He began by explaining how different rugby was then to the popular, widely televised sport which we know today, despite the fact that he was playing at the highest level. Even if you were playing internationally, you still needed a “day job.” Mr Steadman’s day job didn’t differ too much from his rugby career, as he taught PE at some of the top colleges in the country. This provided him with the unique opportunity to work with aspiring young players and teach them to be the best they could be, using his own experiences to relate to his pupils. When reflecting on the highlights of his distinguished career, he remembers the number of times he played at Twickenham Stadium – the biggest rugby ground in England – and explained how “if you run out onto the grass at Twickenham, even just once, it is wonderful.” He also enjoyed visiting many other countries on tours such as Australia, Canada and Tunisia. During his career, and unfortunately even sometimes today, black rugby players were almost always deployed on the wing to use their supposed pace. A black rugby player in the middle of the pitch, in the key decision-making positions such as scrum-half, was unheard of due to the assumption that players of a certain race were not as intellectually able as others. However, Mr Steadman was determined to defy that stereotype. And he did this brilliantly, as he first captained his school, before playing for Middlesex, and eventually progressing to a top sports college. After rising up the youth ranks, despite encountering setbacks and facing difficulties due to prejudice towards him, he was approached by three different clubs: Wasps, Harlequins and Saracens. After pondering which club to choose, he finally joined the latter because it was his “easiest route to the top.” He had always known that he wanted to play scrum-half, and when he noticed that Saracens’ scrum-half was “by far the weakest out of the three teams,” he instantly knew they were the obvious choice.

This is unfortunately one of the countless examples of racism and prejudice that Mr Steadman faced in his career. Even as a renowned rugby player, this was a common occurrence. One moment he remembers was in the early 1980s, when he went to “the big rugby clubs” and numerous times he would run out to start the match and would have people booing at him, and spitting at him, and throwing things at him, along with the infamous monkey chant. While these moments would have perhaps slightly tainted his memories of an otherwise fabulous career, Mr Steadman was able to overcome the adversities and obstacles he encountered, going on numerous tours, playing in huge matches and overall enjoying a remarkable and inspirational time at the top. He is very thankful that he was given the opportunity to play at such a high level of rugby, not because he didn’t deserve to, but because so many players like him, with so much talent, were denied a chance to play professionally just because of their race. After reminiscing about the ups and downs of his decorated yet challenging career, we asked him whether he believed that the attitude towards racism in sport had changed since he played for Saracens – for better or for worse? Mr Steadman explained that he believed that the level of racism in major sports was decreasing, albeit too slowly and only when severe harm caused by racism shocked the world. He commented on George Floyd’s brutal and unjust murder and how that was what it took to wake millions of people up to the horribly true and cruel reality of racism. Despite this, he ended his reply by expressing how relieved he was that sport was becoming less prejudiced. Being a true role model to aspiring athletes, no matter what their race or gender, Floyd Steadman will go down as one the country's most influential sportsmen. He revolutionised rugby so that black players weren’t just stuck out on the wing, and because of his talent and bravery, millions of young people can follow in his footsteps and won’t be categorised or stereotyped by their race.


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

BLAKE CULLEN: IN THE FAST LANE HSC editor Sam Colvine talks to cricketer Blake Cullen OH (2020) on his time playing the professional game so far.

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From the storied cricket pitches of Hanworth Road to the only slightly more prestigious wickets at Lords, Blake Cullen OH (2020), in his short albeit eventful cricketing career thus far, has already accumulated a wealth of experience, plying his trade in both red and white ball disciplines for Middlesex County Cricket Club, whilst even participating in the inaugural instalment of the Hundred. The cricketing production line at Hampton, masterfully stewarded and tinkered with by Messrs Banerjee, Parrish and Harrison, has seen a steady flow of boys taking their talents to the county scene and even to an international level. Cullen follows in the footsteps of Zafar Ansari and his Middlesex teammate, Toby Roland-Jones, and, unsurprisingly, he reminisces fondly about his time at the School. Particularly crucial to his growth, in his view, were the “high standards within the team and the high standards of the teams we played against,” while the quality of coaching cultivated solid technical foundations in his game. Mr Banerjee’s unadulterated passion for cricket, as well as his dedication to the players – “he is more than happy to give up his free periods for you” – combined with Mr Harrison’s in-depth focus on the intricacies of the game, with Cullen remarking that he would still seek the latter out for advice even today,

enabled him to burnish his ever-expanding array of cricketing skills, standing him in good stead to venture into the professional game. A further step in Cullen’s development during his time at Hampton was playing in the U19 World Cup for England in early 2020, sampling his first taste of international cricket. Though he recognises the value of it being his first experience of a “professional environment” since “they run [the side] as if it were a county,” he is careful not to overstate the importance of being involved in the early age groups of international cricket: “People tend to overthink it – I know a lot of good players in county cricket who were nowhere near that U19 team so I wouldn’t say it helps you into the professional game.” Reflecting on his record at Hampton, Cullen does not over-emphasise the successes of his cricketing exploits: “I didn’t take loads of wickets and I didn’t score loads of runs.” In spite of an illustrious summer with the bat in Third Year, garnering plaudits from Roland-Jones for the five centuries he amassed that year, the pinnacle of his cricketing time at Hampton, captaining the First XI as an Upper Sixth pupil in the summer of 2020, was cruelly wrestled from his grasp by the Covid pandemic, ending his journey exploring the game at the School in an abrupt and unceremonious manner.


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

Fourth Year Cullen with the 2016-17 First XI Team

While the pandemic brought a sudden conclusion to his time at Hampton, it also precipitated Cullen’s first real chance in the county arena. The quirks of the Covid summer saw Middlesex having to contest seven games in seven weeks and, due to the gruelling nature of fast bowling, rotation was necessary, allowing him to secure a berth in the first team. At the start of the summer, the bowler was “in a good place to start performing” and he was quick to seize his opportunity, taking Alastair Cook’s wicket, the England Test side’s all-time leading run scorer, in only his second game – as Cullen attests, “it doesn’t get much better than that.” Looking back on his first season in the Middlesex first team setup, he views it as the ideal starting place for his career: “Although it was hard cricket and it was first-class cricket, it wasn’t the usual divisions so there wasn’t necessarily the same amount of pressure that there is in a normal year. It was a fairly relaxed environment and a nice entry into the professional game.” The wickets at Lords are frequented by an abundance of fast bowling talent, with the Middlesex bowling attack empowered by wily operators such as Roland-Jones, Steven Finn and Tim Murtagh, all of whom have featured at an international level for England and Ireland. Although this high level of bowling talent has seen Cullen face stiff opposition for a place in the county’s strongest

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XI, he places greater emphasis on how the advice of the team’s bowling stars has enabled him to hone his game: “They are always very understanding and willing to give up their time for me, to answer questions and help me out.” This fellowship between the generations of players is vital to the functioning of the Middlesex squad, with the younger members accruing expanses of knowledge about the particulars of the game from their more seasoned colleagues, while the squad veterans are forced to maintain their standards by those ascending the ranks. Nonetheless, in Cullen’s opinion, this cohesive blend of youth and experience is not the norm at every county, with older stalwarts often intimidated by a ‘young gun’ making their name in the game. After a fruitful first season with the first team, a further tranche of opportunities arrived for Cullen in the 2021 season. Picked up by the London Spirit in the first edition of the new Hundred format, he opines that this is an invaluable addition to the game for both the players and the fans: “You get to mix with people from other counties and coaches that you haven’t worked with before,” enhancing his performance through collaborating with and facing off against some of the best cricketers and technicians in the game.


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So far in his time at the zenith of the national game, Cullen has been deployed primarily as a bowler, yet, earlier in his career, he was just as capable with the bat in hand, exemplified by his aforementioned collection of centuries in Third Year. The 20-year-old is well aware of this transition from an all-rounder to more of a specialist, noting that “while it’s happening, you don’t necessarily realise it.” Indeed, he “didn’t used to bowl particularly fast.” A factor in this change, apart from a growth spurt in his teenage years, is rooted in the physical demands of pace bowling. The toll this takes on the body leads to injuries, thereby necessitating more rotation than among batsmen; this was crucial for Cullen in his formative years, gaining opportunities in the county second team while, in contrast, “there were a lot of batters waiting on the side because there were no opportunities in the second team.” Cullen has spearheaded the Middlesex attack in both red and white ball formats, so the question naturally arises: which does he prefer? The bowler is characteristically pragmatic and grounded in response: “It’s not a straightforward answer because I thoroughly enjoy both and it’s so early on in my career.” Cullen’s current aspiration is to capitalise on any opportunities that are on offer so “to make any sort of decision on prioritising one format would be foolish.”

2022 promises much for Cullen, having been retained by the London Spirit for the Hundred and seeking to earn more opportunities for Middlesex in both first class cricket and the shorter formats. However, his mindset and aim remain the same: “To keep getting better and take any opportunities that come my way.” The county’s bowling outfit, “unmatched in experience and skill,” is once again burgeoning with talent, with Pakistan star Shaheen Afridi adding to an already star-studded line-up. Cullen recognises it will be a challenge to cement himself in the county’s First XI, yet, showcasing his skill among some of the world’s best, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hampton Sports Chronicle meetings take place on a weekly basis at lunchtimes. See Mr Sharkey in the English Department for more details.


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

COACHING THE RITCHIE WAY Andy Ritchie is a familiar face out on the football pitches to Hamptonians across the School. He talks to Luca Parrish about how he got into coaching, who inspired him and his experiences in the beautiful game. 24


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Mr Andy Ritchie has coached football at Hampton for the last seven years and is a fascinating person to discuss all things football. From his experiences working at Hampton to his own path into coaching, and what has influenced and inspired him to choose that particular path, I gained an interesting insight to a unique role, one that is far more complicated and multi-faceted than people realise. I first asked Mr Ritchie about how he got into coaching, and it became clear that football was everpresent in his life, as he explained that he had been playing “since I could walk.” Having played football for many years, “coaching seemed to be a natural progression.” Playing non-league football for teams such as Wokingham Town and Maidenhead United until university, Mr Ritchie captained his university’s first team, and as such “you got to become the coach.” This led to him taking coaching badges in his third year at university, then going to the USA, where he “continued with it and just loved it.” Mr Ritchie then took on a role as an FA regional coach with East Berkshire.

He cited several people who he worked with at the FA as inspiration for him from a coaching point of view. Les Reed, for instance, who has worked at the FA for many years as well as at Fulham and Southampton, was a key figure at the start of Mr Ritchie’s time at the FA. He also worked with a coach called Ted Dale, who he was the assistant for, working at Chelsea, and Dale was “also the one who took me on my level 2 [FA level 2 coaching badge] at university.” When working at Southampton, Mr Ritchie “met a guy called Georges Prost, who had come from Marseille and Lyon” and together they created an extremely successful youth policy working with the U16 and U18 age groups. Prost was an “extremely inspirational” figure. We spoke about how new ideas can be found from other sports, in particular in the context of his role as an FA tutor, and Mr Ritchie described how, “as an FA tutor, you would encourage that for young coaches.” FA tutors mentor and guide young coaches, effectively teaching them the proper practices, and Mr Ritchie stressed the importance FA tutors place on developing a player holistically, adding that “if you can motivate people using different examples, then I think that’s a really positive thing to do.” We moved onto the topic of Mr Ritchie’s work at Hampton, and how his role grew after Mr Mills asked him to help with the First XI. Mr Ritchie enjoyed the experience of being back with his specialist age group of 15 to 19, explaining how “you sort of have a specialist age group as a coach”, and it became clear to him that many of the methods he had been using with professional clubs were easily transferable, due to the high standards at the School.

There have been many changes to the way football at Hampton works during Mr Ritchie’s years here, including more recent developments like the introduction of vests to monitor work rate and fitness, and he explained how small changes represent “adding to the product”, and trying to find small advantages in whatever way you can.

Another aspect of Mr Ritchie’s coaching at Hampton is his work with younger year groups and teams who are not necessarily A or B sides, and while he explained that doesn’t have a direct impact on his work with the First XI, “it gives you perspective. If you’re working with an U13C or D team, you have to use different skills.” Working with different ability levels and age groups helps to “keep you honest” and Mr Ritchie also stressed the importance of the ability of teachers, as well as coaches, to be able to adapt and work with different scenarios. He clarified how his teaching degree along with his UEFA A license was helpful in this, as he was able to see football from a different, more recreational point of view. Mr Ritchie also works as a mentor, guiding less qualified coaches at various levels, and he mentioned his work within the School with different age groups as very helpful to that. We then discussed broader topics within the sport, in particular the idea of a distinctive identity or culture within a footballing institution, and the importance of that. Mr Ritchie spoke about the All Blacks as an example of a sporting institution to be admired, looking at “the standards they set, the attention to detail” and he spoke about his interest in fostering a focused environment, but one where positivity, along with a willingness to learn, would be crucial. While he admitted the difficulty of this, Mr Ritchie said that the “balance the School has is fantastic” and one of the most important aspects of this is the enjoyment pupils take from playing football, especially since football is played at Hampton in an expansive way. Another interesting aspect of our discussion was individualism, an interesting concept not just within football but within all team sports. While he accepted the clear challenges of having “someone swimming against the tide,” Mr Ritchie said this had to be balanced with giving players freedom to find what is best for them and keeping them content. Speaking from his own personal experience, having made the move from central midfield to centre back, Mr Ritchie spoke about how this experience, instead of hindering him, gave him an edge over others in his position as he was “far more technical” as a result of his many years spent in the middle of the pitch. Overall, not only did I find it interesting to talk to someone who has coached at a high level and glean an insight into the role of the football coach, it was also fascinating to have a conversation about the sport with someone who so clearly has such a passion for and investment in it.


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

FINLAY HAWKER: LIFE ON THE ROAD Life as a 16-year-old pupil is difficult enough. Yet, imagine having to balance GCSEs with national level sport. This is something aspiring cyclist and Hamptonian, Finlay Hawker, understands all too well. Harry McLusky talks to him about how he is able to find the balance between learning and cycling. Starting from the beginning of his cycling career, I asked Hawker about what inspired his passion. His father was clearly someone who played a big part in kick-starting this interest, with Hawker reminiscing about “going out on the mountain bike around the local park with him.” Furthermore, his father’s completion of an Ironman Triathlon (consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile cycle and a marathon), also influenced Hawker’s mindset and decision to become a competitive cyclist. Hawker’s career escalated from there, with a holiday to Cornwall acting as a catalyst for his progress, as this was when he “first realised I was good at cycling.” Shortly afterwards, Hawker made the decision to enter the competitive arena in order to establish his name in British Cycling. 2014 was a successful year for the Hamptonian, with six of his entries into local tournaments resulting in a firstplace finish. Hawker also reflected on coming eighth in the Nationals at a very young age, having again been encouraged by his father. Since then, Hawker has been making his presence known in the cycling world. His victory in 2017, in the European Youth Cycling Tour in the Netherlands, introduced him to the sporting spotlight, as he beat 50 of the best European cyclists of his age group at the event. He joined his first club, Hillingdon Slipstreamers, in 2014 located in Hayes in West London, an hour's round trip from Hawker’s home. The club opened many doors, offering professional-standard training facilities and coaching. This allowed Hawker to excel in his cycling and enter new competitions in order to continue to compete at the highest level. His eventual move to Velo Club Londres in 2018, was a tough call to make. The club is even further away from the Hampton area, forcing Hawker to manage his schoolwork in order to balance this with his cycling career.

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Having said this, statistics show that Hawker has been unfazed by this change and, despite the obvious restrictions which Covid-19 enforced, his success is one of the few things that hasn’t ground to a halt. During lockdown, he finished ninth out of 100 racers at Redbridge Cycling Centre, reaping rewards for his perseverance and commitment to the sport. Today, Hawker is part of the British Cycling Talent Development Pathway who support his cycling career and offer him a brilliant opportunity to take his skills to the next level. As normality returns, we can be hopeful that the youth cycling calendar will resume its usual, crowded schedule. Of course, this will thrust the Hamptonian and his competitors back into the challenging nature of the sport, while the necessary work for GCSEs reaches its climax. So, how has Hawker managed to cope with this training schedule and schoolwork in the past year, and how will he continue to maintain his high standards in the future?


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part to Hawker’s success, and working during spare school hours has allowed him to further pursue his career in cycling. When on the bike, Hawker reflects on how “it is important to get the balance right” and that, he finds that “when I’m cycling, I’m in that mindset. I know exactly what I’m doing.” Yet, despite the unfathomable pressure of 15 to 16 hours of training a week, Hawker is unperturbed, conveying his ability to switch mentality easily after dismounting and putting his bike away at the end of the day: “As soon as I’ve done my training session and I’ve calmed down, I’m in a completely different mindset; and the mindset is revision for exams.” Finlay Hawker is just one of the many talented young athletes in Britain right now. Even though, for him “in an ideal world, [he’d] like to become a professional cyclist when [he’s] older,” the sheer dedication, training and stress to achieve this magnificent goal is simply unimaginable for most.

In our interview, he talked about his workload when on the bike and how much he needs to cycle every week to perform at a national level. At the moment, his training is set by British Cycling, immediately giving an insight into the demands of these sessions. He commented that, “on a hard week, it will be in the region of 15 to 16 hours training.” As a less athletic person myself, I was rather taken aback by the casual tone Hawker used to remark upon this. Of course, his strong and humble mentality is largely down to his experience, however, to a general member of the public, these hours seem insurmountable.

Yet, Hawker’s ability to switch from cycling to learning and then to a social mindset is a fantastic feat in itself. His ability to find a balance between life in and out of the classroom, sets a great example with organisation being the key to success. This is proven by his international victory in the Netherlands, and the ever-growing possibility of a successful future in cycling. Despite his perseverance, Hawker’s love for the sport is the driving force for his success and competitiveness at the top level. He sums up his own passion for cycling with these words: “I love cycling, not just for the competitive aspects, but for the social aspects as well. And I enjoy pushing myself, so I’d imagine that even if I don’t become a pro, I’d still keep cycling to a decently high level, just for my own motivation.”

Unlike a typical teenager, Hawker is often up at the crack of dawn to train at the weekends, explaining how he cycles “three or four hours on Saturday, and then two to three hours more on Sunday.” In Fifth Year, a typical weekend will involve around two hours of homework, along with the necessary revision for public exams. Perhaps one of the few benefits to being 16 years old is the freedom offered by schools. Hawker’s appreciation for free time to train during the week is evident, as he conveys how he is “lucky to have the afternoon off on Wednesday, so that I can also do a long ride then.” Rides after school are often around 90 to 100km, around Surrey and the infamous Box Hill, which has hosted Olympic-level events in the past. However, one may question the focus of such a young cyclist, considering the many challenges that school throws at him. Focusing in lessons is a key

Hampton Sports Chronicle meetings take place on a weekly basis at lunchtimes. See Mr Sharkey in the English Department for more details.


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

U16B TEAM NARROWLY MISS OUT ON ESFA GLORY Hampton's U16B footballers continued the tradition of Fifth Year success in the prestigious ESFA competition. HSC writer Josh Hood details their successful year. The Hampton U16B team kicked off their 2021-22 ESFA Cup campaign in early October at home against Windsor Boys’ School. A determined start and impressive support from the Hampton fans paid dividends, as a 4-1 win was secured in round one. In particular, excellent work rate from Jacques Huet and Zaki Sadiq-Baig proved too strong for Windsor as, in spite of a slight lapse in concentration to concede the goal, a perfect start was achieved. Over a month later, Hampton travelled across London to compete against Bishop Thomas Grant School on a 3G-based, albeit rather small pitch. Nevertheless, the U16B team were able to create an array of chances in the first half with composure in front of goal being the only issue. That said, soon after the break, a penalty was won and emphatically converted by Sadiq-Baig via a panenka. After this, in what became a second half utterly different to the first, the home side shifted up a gear and contested a much more even match up. A late equaliser reflected this as a hectic penalty area was the site of the goal, smashed in by the opposition through a sea of Hampton bodies. In dramatic fashion, however, a great finish from Aryan Virdi, blasted into the roof of the net from over 20 yards out, put Hampton 2-1 up and into round three. Glyn School hosted their next match, who fielded an army of supporters almost comparable to Hamptonians on a sunny afternoon on the 3G.

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Unphased by the fervent home support, the U16B team delivered a professional performance. The first half was tighter than the second as the scoreboard read one goal apiece early on. However, an attacking onslaught led by Freddie Bate and Ben Rollason in the latter stages gave the Glyn defenders a crisis to deal with. By the time the final whistle blew, Hampton had racked up a tally of five compared to the home side’s one and continued their increasingly promising progression in the national competition. The next round was eagerly anticipated and a four-hour bus journey away, against Ivybridge Community College in Devon. The importance of the occasion was only heightened by the setting, as a Premier League standard pitch in 25-degree heat created the perfect conditions for the ESFA quarter-final. In a tense opening spell, defensive solidity from the Hampton back four was much needed and goalkeeper Matthew Barkus wasn’t challenged with any serious opportunities. The second half saw a similar pattern of play until the dreaded prospect of a penalty shootout started to haunt the minds of players and coaches alike. That said, the clinical conviction of the Hampton frontline pulled through, as finishes from Rollason, Freddie Hoffmann-Becking and Bate all contributed to the 3-0 lead. Felix Von der Geest provided an equally admirable display at left-back, winning almost every duel he competed in, and contributing to the protection of the three-goal cushion.


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The early stages brought an understandable nervousness from Hampton, as they struggled to retain the ball in the opposition half. As a result, at the 10-minute mark, Thomas Telford found themselves on the right wing with a sight of goal. After an initial challenge from the Hampton defender, the ball was regained by a forward, who drew a tackle and won a penalty. This was clinically converted in the bottom right-hand corner by the opposition's number nine.

U16B celebrate quarter-final success

As the final whistle blew, a relieved and excited U16B side celebrated the achievement of reaching an ESFA semi-final. Overseen by an abundance of sunshine and a legion of loyal Hampton supporters, the U16B team kicked off their semi-final at home just before the Easter break. The centre back partnership of Sam Spencer and Ben Millington-Jones worked faultlessly from the outset to eradicate any attacking threats from the opposition. Opportunities followed this collective overpowering, as the attacking midfield line of Bate, HoffmannBecking and Sadiq-Baig all linked up to produce some mouth-watering attacking play. About 20 minutes in, this culminated in a free kick, sprayed into the box by Millington-Jones, and nodded in clinically at the far post by Joe Bolger – the early onslaught had paid off. The latter stages of the first half saw a more even contest, fuelled by Tunbridge’s increased desire. Nevertheless, a consistent defensive display, partnered with ‘keeper Barkus’s vigilance resulted in the home side not conceding a goal by the half-time whistle. Momentum changed again at the start of the second half as a well-deserved provision of water revitalised energy levels in the squad. Astonishing tenacity from the holding midfield duo of Huet and Finn Gould ensured an overwhelming share of possession for Hampton. Once again, the pressure took its toll on the opposition as a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area was capitalised on by Bolger, who calmly slotted the ball past the ‘keeper to firmly place one of Hampton’s feet in the final. As the whistle blew, celebrations from the home fans followed as the U16B team reached the prestigious ESFA final. The day of the final dawned and having sat their English Language GCSE the previous day, the Fifth Year footballers took a break from public exams to travel up to Stoke to play Thomas Telford School in the ESFA final at the Bet365 Stadium. Having warmed up at the nearby academy training facility, the two teams kicked off in the early afternoon in front of a host of travelling fans.

After this wake-up call, Hampton started to contest more characteristically and were able to make space for some long-range efforts on goal. The increased positivity reaped rewards as, just after the half hour mark, a loose ball in the Thomas Telford penalty area was finished skillfully at the near post by the left foot of Rollason. However, in yet another twist just before the break, a free kick positioned 25 yards out was conceded by Hampton. To achieve a brace, the opposition striker stepped up for his second set piece of the game and fired a shot into the bottom left corner. The absence of goals in the second half could not be pinned on a lack of opportunities, as both teams continued to challenge their opposing goalkeepers. Von der Geest dealt with Thomas Telford's main attacking outlet of lofted through balls down the right flank competently and Huet made numerous successful dribbles in the centre of the field to bring Hampton up the pitch. After a disallowed headed goal by Hoffmann-Becking with less than five minutes left on the clock, another ball whipped into the box fell to captain Spencer on the edge of the penalty area. With the outside of his foot, Spencer hit it low, hard and to the keeper’s left, equalising for Hampton. The scoreline stood at 2-2 in normal time, sending the final to penalties. Only narrowly missing the first Thomas Telford penalty in the shootout, ‘keeper Barkus stepped up and saved the second to give Hampton the upper hand. With one penalty left to win it for Hampton, SadiqBaig attempted his previously successful, trademark panenka but missed over the bar by the finest of margins. Whilst Thomas Telford scored their sixth penalty, Spencer, who took his penalty to the right, was denied by the ‘keeper to conclude a successful yet painstakingly close ESFA campaign for the U16B squad. The U16B team narrowly missed out on silverware in the 2022 ESFA competition but this shouldn’t detract from a highly successful season.


HAMPTON SPORTS CHRONICLE - ISSUE 21

The very best of the sports reports featured on the HSC website from Tom Ketel, Henry Fagan, Omer Demiral and Alasdair McIntosh. First XV continue tremendous cup run to make it to the last 16 of the Schools' Cup 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 playing 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 longrange 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.

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Athletics team success at Harrow by Henry Fagan Hampton athletes travelled to Harrow to compete against the top schools in the local area. Unlike the rather windy conditions of their previous visit, this time conditions were very still, with fast times predicted around the 400m track. The junior sprinters have been in great form this season, often finishing on the podium in their races. This form continued at Harrow with a total of five medals awarded to the young athletes. Jayden Oni finished third in his 100m race and first in his 300m race and Sam MoylanJones won the Bronze medal in both his 100m and 300m races. The junior 4 x 100m team also secured a highly competitive third place with Harrow coming away with the victory. There were many other impressive performances by our junior athletes over the longer distances with Marcus Solomon winning his 1500m race in a new School record by four seconds to finish in a stunning time of 4:33.27. The intermediate age group struggled to field as many athletes due to public exams. However, this didn't stop them from putting in a series of strong performances across the day. Fourth Year Jacob Austin finished first in the triple jump, a feat matched by Fifth Year Aaron Mills in the 100m hurdles. Kieran Bouwmeester-Reid was in superb form, with a total of four first place finishes in the five events he took part in. Special mention must go to Bouwmeester-Reid for his performance in the shot put, in which he achieved a massive throw of 13.48m, and in the high jump with an exceptional height of 1.83m. The senior age group also put in a stellar performance with Gold for Stanley Cumming in his first individual 400m race. Gus Carter secured Silver in his 400m (breaking the School record by nearly a second with a time of 51.33), two Bronzes for Henry Fagan in the 800m and 1500m, and a Silver in the 4 x 100m, with Suryaksh Tewatia’s outstanding leg to overtake two schools in the finishing 50m, taking the team from fourth to second. The day culminated in an outstanding Gold in the 4 x 400m with Cumming running a superb final leg to stave off the ever-closing Harrow quartet.


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Top two spot in Elgin Schools League for U15A Team by Omer Demiral An eventful week for the U15A footballers culminated in a 6-3 victory against a strong Royal Russell side in the Elgin Schools League. This was a must win match for Hampton if they wanted to secure a top two spot in the league. In a strong and swift passing display, emulating some of the top academy sides, they swept aside Royal Russell School who had only lost two games heading into this fixture.

Hampton were well in control heading into the second half. However, Charlie Helm managed to further their advantage by latching onto a loose ball and arrowing his shot into the top hand corner. Royal Russell looked a stronger side in the second half, playing with more focus and intent. They found their first goal after a brilliant save from Sam Ellis deflected onto their striker who managed to finish with his second attempt.

James Queen was the star man down the left-hand side, ripping through the opposition defence with his lightning pace. He was the root of the first goal for Hampton, earning a penalty after being brought down inside the box by the opposition right back. Josh King stepped up to take the penalty and coolly slotted it home sending the 'keeper the wrong way. Hampton’s second goal was manufactured by the pure technical brilliance displayed by Joe Downham. Picking the ball up from the left back position he progressed up the pitch, skipping past defenders effortlessly. The ball was glued to his feet as he swerved his way into the box. As he passed into the six-yard box, the ball was turned in by Ben Moffatt for his first goal of the season.

Hampton still managed to reply. From a throw-in, Sam Bond switched the ball straight into Helm’s feet and the build up from there was efficient and deadly. A couple of passes later, Nick Herrero found the ball at his feet, and he slammed it past the 'keeper with his left foot. Six for Hampton. Royal Russell managed to score two further goals, but they were nothing more than consolation as Hampton finished the game on top.

Hampton continued their pressure, their defence not allowing their opponents a sniff of a goal scoring opportunity. Just before the end of the first half, Hampton scored two more in quick succession including a much-deserved goal from Queen and a fantastic finish from Michael Azoo who scored in his fourth consecutive game.

U14C Footballers remain unbeaten with 3-0 victory by Alasdair McIntosh Hampton’s U14C team continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 3-0 home win over Alleyn’s School. During the first ten minutes of the game, both teams made promising starts to what at first seemed to be a fairly even game. Wingers, Henry Jackson and Jayden Oni, continuously put balls into the box, however, they were never able to find a yellow shirt. It wasn’t until substitute Noel Yonas was brought on, that Hampton scored their first goal. The ball came to his feet, just beyond the edge of the box, he took the opportunity and driving it into the bottom left corner. Soon after, Hampton hit the back of the net again. After a clever piece of play, originating from the left side of Hampton’s half, the ball found its way to Yonas inside the penalty box. With clever footwork, Yonas manoeuvred his way into a position where he was able to calmly slot the ball home.

Although they were yet to score, Alleyn’s kept challenging the Hampton defence, however their attacks were halted by centre-backs Karun Bhalla and Connor Hendricks. By the time the half-time whistle blew, Hampton were leading Alleyn’s by two goals, with more looking likely. The first part of the second half lacked goals despite a plethora of attempts from the Hampton side. The final goal of the match came from Gabriel Kelly. The ball was crossed into the box and Kelly found himself in a great position to shoot. He struck the ball at the underside of the cross bar and it fortunately rebounded over the goal line. As the end of the game neared, opportunities for both sides began to dwindle. Hampton left the pitch with confidence, hoping that in their next fixture, they would be able to carry forward this strong performance.


Hampton Sports Chronicle, Hampton School, Hanworth Road, Hampton, Middlesex, TW12 3HD T 020 8979 5526 E info@hamptonschool.org.uk