Hampton Sports Chronicle 2023

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We are proud to say this year has yielded stories in a great variety of areas, making it one of the most diverse editions to date. Articles related to psychology, chess and even ocean rowing accompany Hampton's more traditional sporting endeavours. Yet the common theme of immense talent and hard work emerge from everyone involved.

We would particularly recommend reading the interview with chess prodigy Rajat Makkar on his recent achievement of International Master Title (page 18); the incisive feature about the father and son rugby duo, Michael and Louis Lynagh (OH) 2019 in conversation with previous HSC editor Will Kelleher (OH) 2010 (page 22); as well as the entertaining collection of Social League Sterotypes (page 27). This year, there were also updates on the previously explored sports of tennis, cross country and high-level football.

One of the most exciting additions to HSC this year was the introduction of our video coverage for key sporting events, which marked a departure from our traditional print medium. We created a series of pre-match interviews leading up to the highly anticipated First XI ESFA Cup Final - which were then uploaded to our School's YouTube channel, offering a behind the scenes glimpse for our viewers.

Furthermore, we embarked on a Twitter takeover during the ESFA final, ensuring real time updates, which allowed the School community to be kept informed about every significant moment that unfolded on the field. Over 30 tweets were posted and we received 122,800 Twitter views!

HSC has largely relied on collaborative efforts this year. Therefore, we would like to express our gratitude to Mr Sharkey for supervising the entire process, the Media Office for their assistance in publishing the magazine and, above all, the writers themselves! Their dedication and hard work has been instrumental in bringing this magazine to life.


HSC writers, 2022-23:

Rahul Bansal

Arun Crowe

Omer Demiral

Henry Fagan

Arik Kuzmis

Harry McLusky

Alasdair McIntosh

Daniel Mills

Patrick Moroney

Jake O'Reilly

Omer Olcer

Tom Oliver

George Scholes

Tom Scrimshaw

Harry Takla

Manav Vasanth

Alex Watson

Story: Vishal Saha and Josh Hood look back on the First XI's superb victory in the prestigious ESFA Final. J14 rower Patrick Moroney charts his experience from novice rower to success at the National Schools’ Regatta. with the Hampton School's rugby, cricket and rowing captains in HSC's very first Captain Series. Naavya Sharma tells Harry McLusky about his cricketing journey in both Hampton and Middlesex colours.
Hampton Sport continues to produce moments of breathtaking brilliance, dazzling drama and absolute amazement, seldom more epitomised than by 2022-23 HSC.
Psychology teacher and sports psychologist specialist Miss Peck offers her perspective on the key to sporting success.


From his ESFA 2023 success to representing England, Josh King speaks to HSC about his remarkable footballing career on page 20.



Hampton's sporting year was topped off by the First XI lifting the ESFA trophy for the second time in four years. Vishal Saha and Josh Hood relive the drama from the Stoke City stadium.

The stage was set for a nail-biting finale as the 2022-23 First XI took to the pitch for the final time, determined to reclaim their ESFA title. Certainly not lacking support, the boys had the backing of over 700 loud and vocal fans. After the three hour trip to the Stoke City Stadium, the stands filled up ready for kick-off against Shrewsbury School.

Hampton made the brighter and more energetic start. A minute in, Toby North made a long ball to number ten, Jamie Wilson who, after a successful one-on-one battle with the Shrewsbury defender, squared it to Adam Coombs, whose shot was unfortunately blocked.

However, moments later, luck turned Hampton’s way in the form of a counter-attack. A pinpoint through ball from Aaron Mills reached Johnny Evans-Hutchison, who after a clever one-two with Coombs, trickled the ball forwards to Ben Robinson, who cooly buried it in the bottom corner. The yellow wall of Hampton erupted in triumph, delighted to see their side take such an early lead.

Determined to level the score, Shrewsbury began to make progress, advancing into Hampton territory. The Shrewsbury defence sent a perfectly lofted ball over the Hampton players, which their number 12 deftly received. He struck the ball with great power and accuracy towards the goal, but to Shrewsbury’s frustration, it was no match for Conrad Knight’s lightning-fast reflexes. Knight reacted swiftly and pushed the ball away from the post, resulting in a corner kick for Shrewsbury.



At the 27th minute mark, Hampton made their first substitution, which proved to be a gamechanging move. They brought on Fifth Year Josh King, the talented young footballer from Fulham and England’s U16 national team. His exceptional skills on the field during the ESFA Cup run had earned him the nickname ‘English Pirlo’ among the Hampton fans.

Minutes after King’s substitution, some silky dribbling by Wilson, combined with his rapid speed, enabled the play to reach the opposition’s box. After Wilson lost the ball through a slide tackle challenge, King seized the opportunity. Pinching the ball off the toe of Coombs, he effortlessly skipped past two defenders and slotted it home - Hampton secured a commanding two goal lead.

The scoreline now at 2-1, Shrewsbury were back in the game!

Facing a setback, Hampton responded, establishing longer spells of possession and pushing Shrewsbury back into their own half. Everything was still to play for as the game progressed to its final stages and looked set for a nervy finish. However, Alex Di Soccio had different ideas.

The ball broke in midfield for newly substituted Ben Walker, who played a crisp left-footed ball in behind the Shrewsbury defence. After a dummy from Wilson, the ball fell to the feet of Di Soccio who faked right, then left to lose his defender before striking it home past the flailing left arm of the Shrewsbury goalkeeper.

Hampton strode out for the second half, knowing that a mere 45 minutes of football stood between them, and a second ESFA victory in four years. Backed by a loyal legion of travelling fans, both sides restarted with intensity, nobody daring to shy away from the significance of such an occasion.

Shrewsbury, however, were desperately in need of a goal to reignite their hopes and found exactly that from their captain. From centre-back, he drove forward before hoofing the ball, from 35 yards out, over the head of Knight.

The Hampton faithful erupted and Di Soccio was crowded by his teammates as the First XI restored their two goal cushion entering the final 10 minutes of the game.

The same defensive solidity, ever present throughout this season’s ESFA campaign, did not ease when most needed as the game was seen out without further goals. As the final whistle blew, the team sprinted over to the travelling fans to celebrate together, capping a remarkable end to an incredible season, in what will have been for some of the squad, their final game for Hampton.



The First XI enjoyed a remarkable 2022-23 season, ultimately culminating in ESFA glory. Harry McLusky reflects on the succesful campaign, which saw the First XI outperforming 370 other teams to reach the prestigious final.

The challenging nature of this tournament was immediately proven in the first round, back in September, with Hampton’s stamina and skill being put to the test by a very strong Richard Challoner side. The game was entertaining to say the least, with the two teams being all-square at 3-3 after 90 minutes. Nonetheless, Hampton eventually prevailed, with a brilliant run from Josh King and a goal from Jamie Wilson to send us through late on.

As the squad grew in quality, results dramatically improved. A brilliant attacking performance against Ditton Park Academy gave Hampton an 8-0 victory in the second round, which was followed up by another comfortable 5-0 victory in a local derby against Kingston Grammar School.

Hampton’s star-studded attack continued to shine in the fourth round, putting nine past LVS Ascot, before progressing to the sixth round thanks to a comfortable 4-1 victory over Glyn School. So far, so good for the First XI, with excitement starting to build as they moved into the latter stages of the tournament.

Alleyn’s School came next – yet another fierce rivalry. The game was closely matched throughout, but a clinical penalty from Wilson as well as goals from Toby North and Kyan Soni gave Hampton a 3-0 win, putting us through to the quarter-finals.

A four hour round trip for the First XI was required for their next opponent, St Thomas More High School. The opponent's fans turned up in their masses, and the home side took the lead early on.

Despite the long journey, Hampton demonstrated their resilience, with Conrad Knight saving a key penalty, before initiating a momentous comeback. Hampton ended up putting six past their opponents, silencing the crowd and sending us through to the semi-finals.

Forest School were Hampton’s final hurdle before reaching the final – a team the latter had lost to early in the season. However, Hampton dug in, taking a 2-0 half-time lead thanks to goals from North (the centre-back’s fifth of the tournament) and Adam Coombs, top-scorer of the season so far. Despite a late Forest comeback, Coombs stepped up to the plate late on, tapping home from close range to give Hampton a 3-2 lead, and a place in the final.




Knight’s incredible shot-stopping ability is not the only asset that he brings to the team. His commanding presence in the box solidifies an assured defence, with his pinpoint distribution starting countless counter-attacks. His tangible talent in goal was proved in a 3-0 win against Ardingly, where Knight picked up a clean sheet and Man-of-the-Match award for his performance.


The perfect centre-back partner for Harley Mackenzie, North has utilised his aerial ability in a more attacking manner, scoring five goals during Hampton’s ESFA campaign, including opening the scoring in the all-important semi-final. His height and physical presence add further impetus and rigidity to the backline.


Captain fantastic and box-to-box midfielder, Moffatt, played a pivotal role in guiding Hampton to the ESFA final through his clear communication and leadership skills. As well as being a great all-round player, Moffatt’s ability to loft set pieces into the box is always available, providing golden opportunities for the towering centre-backs.


Joining Moffatt in central midfield is the team’s vice-captain, Soni. Often compared to N’golo Kante by his teammates thanks to his tenacious work rate and vision of the game, his performances this season have led to him being regarded as one of the team’s star players. Soni and Moffatt form a formidable midfield duo, striking the perfect balance between attacking flair and defensive know-how.


A powerful driving force down the right-hand side, Robinson’s pace and physicality give him opportunity aplenty to burst down the flank and get the ball into the box. His clinical finishing in front of goal makes him a thorn in the side of any opposition, often unstoppable when in form.


Fan-favourite Coombs has been Hampton’s fox in the box throughout the 2022-23 season. He only cemented himself as a starter in late November, however, the talismanic striker has since proved his worth up front, becoming top scorer, and often popping up with a crucial goal in tight matches. His brace against Forest School in the ESFA semi-final booked Hampton’s ticket to the final.

In a remarkable season for our senior footballers, Harry McLusky dives deeper into the ins and outs of just some of the First XI players who featured in the ESFA final.


Life as a sports captain requires responsibility and dedication.

Arun Crowe, Alex Watson and Patrick Moroney speak to Hampton's leading members of rugby, cricket and rowing, respectively.


What are your main responsibilities as captain?

For me, the priorities are ensuring that everyone is always on the same page, and share a similar understanding of how the team is setup. Additionally I like to check that people are always switched on and that the team’s intensity is good.

What do you enjoy most about being captain?

I would say I enjoy the responsibility of helping people, and I also enjoy being able to make the crucial decisions in the pressure moments.

I really do think it has turned certain games or performances in my favour when I am utterly motivated to win and do well.

How have you dealt with the mental aspect of cricket during your time at Hampton?

Cricket is a very psychologically tough game, and if you are in a bit of a rut or in bad shape the best thing to do is to talk to someone else. Personally, I would advise talking to the likes of Mr Banerjee and Mr Parrish if you are feeling under a lot of pressure whilst playing, particularly from a batting perspective. Teammates are also very useful to talk to as they can provide you with lots of different insights.


What are your main responsibilities as captain?

What would be your message for an aspiring cricketer in the lower years at the School?

First and foremost, just enjoy it. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s just so important to have fun whenever you’re playing so that later on you can look back at your experiences with pride and happiness. Taking your opportunities is another very important thing to do if you want to maximise your potential and the enjoyment you experience playing cricket. On a more competitive front, I would say you have to go into every game wanting to win.

There’s quite a lot, obviously you’ve got to look out for your teammates and your peers, make sure everyone gets to where they need to be on time, those off the pitch kind of things. Turning up to training early, just making sure that everything’s organised so that a little bit of stress is out of your coach’s hair. On the pitch it’s different, it’s more of a leadership role. Trying to motivate everyone and make sure everything on the pitch goes as planned, but obviously it’s not just the captain who does everything – it makes it a lot easier when your peers are helping and contributing, but it’s enjoyable.

What do you enjoy most, and least, about being captain?

We get a certain degree of respect from our teammates and peers, in the lower years especially, which is quite nice, and obviously it’s a label, but it doesn’t actually really mean much. I feel like as captain, you're just part of the team, it’s still the same thing.


Negatives wise, I guess it’s just a little bit more stressful as there’s a little bit more responsibility on your shoulders, especially if the team loses, but that’s also shared throughout the whole team, not just the captain.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as captain?

Balancing the time all the extra tasks take, along with the regular training and school work is always difficult, however I’m lucky enough to have close friends in and out of the squad who I can turn to if I am ever struggling.

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring sportsmen at Hampton, what would it be?

Find what you love and stick to it.

Do you have any aspirations for the team?

If you could give any advice to aspiring rugby players in the lower years at Hampton, what would it be?

Just enjoy it. Just enjoy playing with your mates and treasure it, because it flies by so quickly. I’m in my final year of School now, and I’m already reminiscing about playing rugby at the age of 11. I've been playing sevens tournaments with the same coaches who I'm working with now, the likes of Mr MobbsSmith and Mr Beattie, and still with the same mates who I’ve played with since I was 11-years-old.

Obviously rugby is a very physically demanding sport, so how much training do you normally do every week?

There’s a lot of stuff behind the scenes that you don’t see, especially with pre-season training, trying to get your match fitness up, as well with the physical side of it. A lot of rehab goes on, because I’ve had quite a few injuries in my time, so I’ve had to go through quite long periods of rehab, getting back to full strength.


What are your main responsibilities as captain?

It’s a combination of things, ranging from acting as an intermediary between the athletes and the coaches to leading warmups and delivering the occasional motivational talk or speech. I also have to organise the different types and styles of kit that the squad wants.

What do you enjoy most about being captain?

I mostly enjoy the responsibility of it all and having the younger years look up to you as a role model. It really inspires me to be the best athlete I can be.

As a squad, I think we’re looking to get as many crews as we can into the top half of the A final at the National Schools' Regatta, both in the First and Second VIIIs. For the upper end of the squad, I think that we have a really good chance of doing well at Henley this year and it would be nice to end my Hampton rowing career with a competition so elite, that even qualifying is an achievement.

How does it feel being captain while having to follow the cox?

Personally, I find it rather easy, particularly because of how much trust I have in our cox. It’s the same with the rest of the crew, if you can trust them then it becomes easier to work as a unit and go fast!

What goes through your head pre-race? How do you keep calm and focused?

Everything. My head is always buzzing pre-race with both exciting and nervous thoughts. Mostly I just have to trust the training that we have done, hoping that it will get us down the course. Breathing exercises sometimes help me stay central to the race, but it really depends on how I’m feeling on the day and how long the race will be.

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



The life story of Chris Martin OH (1999) is one that Hampton is rightly proud of. An ocean rower whose feats of endurance are so extraordinary that they are, at times, difficult to comprehend. Whilst he could justifiably pat himself on the back and settle for being a sporting colossus, instead he has chosen to channel his talent and energy into a business that has recently started providing support to armed forces veterans who have faced life changing challenges.

Martin began his time at Hampton as a rugby player but recalls the first time he got in a boat, being hooked. “I capsized more times than anyone else but it didn’t matter. I absolutely loved it." Martin became a key component in a successful Hampton eight and went on to be part of the British Junior Squad.

Rowing for Molesey Rowing Club and with the support of National Lottery funding, Martin was able to focus on training while undertaking a university degree. While at Brunel, Martin would start his day at 5.30am with a 45 minute bike ride to the boat house. After a gruelling training session he biked back for lectures before returning to the boat house for evening training. “It was just utterly exhausting but it was the best way to get super fit.”

His hard work led to a call up to the British Under 23 squad which meant training with the crew every weekend. Success at multiple World Junior Championships catapulted Martin into the Senior World Rowing Championship where he won a Bronze medal in 2001.

By his own admission, his form and results then took a dip. After his funding was cut it became increasingly difficult to maintain a professional rower’s training regime.

After a period of soul searching, Martin decided that he would turn his oar to ocean rowing. His achievements are the stuff of legend. In 2005 he set out to row the Atlantic Ocean solo, the 31st person in history to complete the challenge. A route of a mere 4,700km. Having considered attempting to complete the course in record time, other elements rendered this goal unachievable. He reflected that whilst you might hold a record today, there’s always someone out there looking to take it away from you. However, being the first person to overcome a challenge is etched in history for eternity. After crossing the Atlantic in 68 days he set out to find his personal, historical challenge.

Martin soon met former Royal Marine Mick Dawson who invited him to row the North Pacific with him as a pair. After three years of training, in May 2009, Martin and Dawson began their journey from Choshi in Japan with an ultimate target destination of San Francisco. 189 days, 10 hours and 55 minutes later they rowed their boat underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.

The reception they received overwhelmed the pair. Greeted by the Mayor of San Francisco and a crowd so large that the pontoon sank, they were awarded a Guinness World Record for being the first team to achieve the feat of rowing across the North Pacific Ocean. Martin proudly told me: “No one can take that away from me. It’s quite special.”

“The impact our little row had on other people was unbelievable. I decided that I wanted to help people have those incredible experiences on the ocean.” In 2011 Martin founded New Ocean Wave and, to date, he has helped around 170 people row an ocean.

Referring to the positive impacts on mental health and wellbeing that sport can provide Martin told me: “You never regret going for a run. It’s the same with rowing. Even a bad row is a good row as you’ve definitely made the boat move faster than it would have done had you not been in it!”

After leaving Hanworth Road, Chris Martin (OH) 1999 has conquered groundbreaking feats in the endeavour of ocean rowing. He told Harry Takla about his unique and innovative involvement in the sport.


Rowing at Hampton is a fantastic sport to experience, but also one of the toughest sports to compete in. Being in the first year of rowing for all of the Third Year rowers, there has been significant improvement and progress throughout the year.

As a squad we have gone from taking our first rowing strokes to winning national medals or simply experiencing the joy of racing. The season has been great for the whole squad. Second place at the Junior Sculling Head and Junior Sculling Regatta (both national events) for the First octo (8x+) and a Bronze medal at National Schools’ Regatta, the biggest junior rowing regatta in the country.

Highlights included a win in the Second 8x+ at the Junior Sculling Head and a first and second place finish in the Hampton Head, which the School hosts every year. As well as being competitive right at the top of the squad, all levels of Third Year rowers have taken part in races with many crews going to BASHER and BASHER II (BASHER is an acronym for the six big rowing schools in the country: Bedford, Abingdon, St Paul’s, Hampton, Eton and Radley), Hampton Head, a private fixture against St George’s at the start of the year, and more regattas to come before the season finishes.

What can be said about rowing at Hampton is that there is a great unity as a squad. The ability when racing, when every muscle in your body is screaming to stop, to keep on going, if not for you but the others in the boat, and let’s not forget how important the cox is in drowning out that voice.

The team spirit in rowing can be stronger than any other sport, crews are so tightly knit yet the First 8x+ for example has had 16 different rowers and coxes this year (including a J16 who kindly coxed the First 8x+ at the Teddington Head). Despite multiple changes in crews there is still this great sense of camaraderie. The transition from a new rower to National Schools’ medallist has been helped enormously by this unity.

There is that constant competitive drive among members of the squad to get a better ergo score or get your blades in at the right time together at the catch of every stroke. The desire to improve yourself and do better than you did last time, a week ago, the last race, the last term, the start of the year.

Frustratingly physical improvement does not work in a straight line but over the course of the year, together as a squad, we have improved. We have gone from rowing half of the boat at a time with square blades, to rowing full crew with feathering, to being able to slowly raise the rate cap until we are rowing stronger and neater than we were before.

Learning from the team of coaching staff what to do and how to do it, we have ended the season as a squad with four national medals. We can’t wait for next year!

J14 rower Patrick Moroney tells HSC about his journey from novice rower to Bronze medallist at the prestigious National Schools’ Regatta.


From then, it was clear that Sharma had the potential to excel, and it was certainly reassuring to see that he would be on Hampton’s side for years to come.

For Sharma, cricket was always his sport. Typically, he began by "trying a few sports, but cricket seemed to be the one [he] enjoyed most." His passion for the game was supported by both his parents, especially his dad: "He would always be taking me to training, coaching me and sometimes batting with me." This ever-present support has persisted, with his parents driving across the country for his cricket.

Hampton boasts countless young talent in sports from tennis to cycling and cricket, and Lower Sixth pupil, Naavya Sharma, is no exception. His cricketing ability has accelerated him into the School’s First XI, as well as success with Sunbury and Middlesex Cricket Clubs.

As the cricket season came into view, I was fortunate to sit down with Sharma and ask him about his career: in the past, present and the future. Summer 2016 was the first time I experienced Sharma’s ability first-hand in an U10 cricket match, playing for Hampton Prep School with Sharma in the Staines Prep team. From memory, his bowling ability was head and shoulders above everyone else, with the wicket-keeper forced to stand further back to manage his sheer speed.

Unsurprisingly, we were heavily defeated in that game, with Sharma’s all-round talent, with the bat and the ball, blowing us out of the water, despite his young age.

One of the most significant cricketing moments in Sharma’s career was his call up to the 2021 Bunbury Festival. Bunbury is an annual cricket competition that brings together the best U15 cricketers nationwide for a T20 tournament. Having undergone a brutal trial stage, Sharma was called up to the South and West squad, ending up sixth on the bowling figures table, manifesting his ability to impress with the ball. His team ended victorious, conquering the Midlands team by seven wickets, with Sharma taking impressive figures of 2-27 in the process.

Famous international cricketers, such as Joe Root, Andrew Flintoff and Michael Vaughan, all participated in the competition, highlighting the skill level that Sharma has reached, and opening the door to future success. On his prospects, Sharma is keeping his ambitions realistic, saying that as much as he’d "hope to go as far as cricket will take [him]," he has so far, only achieved a "small fraction of [his] ambitions" and he "still needs to work a lot to get to [his] ambitions."

Lower Sixth cricketer Naavya Sharma is one of the very best that Hampton has to offer. He spoke to Harry McLusky about his experience in the game.


Additionally, his call-up to Middlesex County Academy last year further propels him towards his goal, aiming to receive a professional contract in the near future. His victory in the ECB County Cup in 2022 is further encouragement, with his Middlesex team beating other English counties to the trophy. Their victory was made sweeter by a thrilling final win over Surrey. Although Sharma finished wicketless in the final, he made crucial contributions with the ball throughout the knockout stages, picking up five dismissals – the fifth most overall.

Many reading this may have seen his stunning wicket that went viral in 2022. Sharma’s debut for the Sunbury First XI produced fireworks! Four overs into his opening spell, he produced an unforgettable moment of magic. Sharma’s thought process helped him produce one of his best ever balls, reflecting on this by saying: "I had bowled a couple of outswingers to the batsman before, so I thought he’d instinctively set himself up for a leave, if I brought one back in, he might leave one onto his stumps."

And that’s exactly what happened. The ball swung in by at least a metre, sending the off stump flying, giving Sharma his maiden wicket, as "everyone started screaming." Days passed, and whilst preparing for a separate game, Sharma opened his social media to find that popular cricket account, ESPNCricInfo had posted his delivery onto their pages, giving Sharma the publicity that could catalyse his career.

However, Sharma’s humility and professionalism is particularly striking, stating that "focusing too much on becoming known, is not the best way to go." His Hampton career is equally impressive, with Sharma scoring countless centuries, breaking into the First XI last year. Sharma showed appreciation from the support offered by the School, praising the expert advice of Mr Harrison and Mr Banerjee and acknowledging training with the First XI as being a "good environment to be around."

Sharma played a pivotal role in Hampton’s victory over RGS Guildford in 2019, which saw us come out on top after a super over, in which Sharma batted and bowled to carry Hampton over the line in the season finale.

However, Sharma’s greatest achievement for Hampton was his score of 132 against Tiffin last year. Coming to the crease, Hampton had collapsed to 15-3 early on. Nonetheless, Sharma’s relentlessness and determination, helped him achieve his career highlight, winning the game in superb style.

Elsewhere, Sharma shared his excitement to be visiting Desert Springs cricket facility in Spain, with Middlesex later this year. Sharma trains over five times a week for Middlesex alone - an incredibly hectic schedule to say the least!

Nonetheless, his positive approach is what makes him a top-level cricketer. Sharma is also juggling four A Levels, adding more weight to his already busy schedule. On the contrary, Sharma has adapted his thinking to view cricket as free time, and to not dwell on the necessary sacrifices to continue towards his goal. This professional mindset makes Sharma’s prospects boundless, and his skillset is irrefutably good enough to accompany this.

He summed up his humility and ambition in just six words: "a lot of work to go." Although he commented on his "pride for previous achievements" it is refreshing to see his grounded, yet optimistic approach to a future cricketing career, and I believe that he has a very promising future ahead of him.



Michael Timbs' star-studded career has seen him work with some of the greatest footballers to grace the pitch. He caught up with HSC reporter Omer Olcer.



Hamptonians from all spheres are involved in podcasts, exploring topics ranging from politics to physics, and poetry to painting. The Row Z & Beyond podcast is amongst these, delving into the most relevant sporting questions of today. On the latest episode, I was honoured to have Michael Timbs (OH) 2010 join me. We spoke about: Arsenal’s current form; Hampton and the lessons learnt from his time at School; his first sports media job in addition to the Qatar World Cup; how he deals with criticism; and finally advice for people who would like to follow in his footsteps.

When talking about Arsenal at the time of writing, he was obviously over the moon with the incredible form they are in. Unlike Gary Neville, he believes the Gunners can clinch the title despite proven Champions City hunting them down. [Alas at the time of going to print, Arsenal had fallen at the final hurdle and relinquished the Premier League title to City.]

Many people have been speculating about the explanation for Arsenal's significant improvement since last season. However, Timbs - after conversations with the likes of Ben White and Smith Rowe - suggests that it is different from how people see it and the Arsenal team have been growing for a long time. Timbs argues a season like this was a long time coming, due to the long term vision of boss Mikel Arteta. Like many other Gunners, he is hopeful that after a good but sensible summer transfer window, their form can continue into the 2023-24 season.

As the conversation swayed towards School, he felt that although one learns subjects during your time in school to become educated in a specific field, the main lesson taken from his time at Hampton is the vital qualities of passion, hard work and good manners. In addition to this, learning how to open the doors for opportunities, agreeing to things without a clear cut vision of what's going to happen - he believes luck is created by the individual. An example of where agreeing to multiple opportunities opened doors for him in his future was his love of languages.

Timbs chose multiple languages to do in his GCSE exams as well as his A Levels. He spoke about when making these decisions he never knew where it would take him. Looking back he concludes that being multilingual has been instrumental in getting jobs at COPA90 and MOTDX, as well as doing interviews with the likes of Messi and Neymar in their native language.

Timbs also stated that when a company employs someone, they always look at what makes them special, and for many it may be being comfortable on camera or being eccentric. However, for him, it was his language skills which differentiated him from the rest.

We then got to speak about football at Hampton and the privilege of playing in great competitions such as ESFA and ISFA. However, Timbs never got as far as the U13A squad did in the 2021-22 season or the First XI being crowned ESFA champions in both 2019 and 2023. Nevertheless he enjoyed representing the School out on the pitch. He also wished the First XI the best of luck in the upcoming ESFA final. We also discussed how he still attends and loves playing for the Old Boys to this day.

Timbs has done many shoots in his career so far and lots of different events, but two competitions stand out for him. The 2018 Russia World Cup and the 2022 Qatar World Cup. We discussed how he feels privileged to have been able to work at these large tournaments and be so close to the players and organisation and experience the tournament firsthand rather than watching on television at home.

Like many other football fans, he considers the Qatar World Cup to be the best one of the lot in football terms. However, Timbs said he was able to enjoy the Russia World Cup more as the organisation he worked for didn’t feel like work to him but rather a fan experience. Nonetheless, reporting the Qatar World Cup for FIFA felt more professional.

The main takeaway from both these experiences in Russia and Qatar is the togetherness of all the fans who are all gatheing for the same reason - their love of football. Although different people support different countries, when another country wins the competition like Argentina in 2022, one can relate to the joy of their fans.

Being a big personality on TV and online is a double-edged sword for many as it comes with its supportive comments and positive attention but also with negative comments and criticism. Timbs discussed how he finds being able to brush it off and dealing with negativity is an important skill if you want to put yourself out there in the world of media. We also spoke about how confrontation isn’t the way to go. Rather he proposes people take it lightly and keep a positive mindset. A great piece of advice!



The first race was early in the calendar, with the team heading to Wimbledon Common in early October to take part in the King’s Cup, held by KCS. Hampton, fielding one of the largest teams of the event, ran strongly, despite the precarious route due to a storm having blown several trees over the night before.

After a short rest from the 8km race, the team made the trip south for the Haskell Relay event in Guildford. Although the A team narrowly missed out on what could have been the first medal of the season, with their fourth runner being overtaken in the final stretch, the Hampton athletes were soon ready to strike again, this time more locally at the Judge Cup, held at Tiffin School. This race was yet again another relay with one runner from each year group allowed to take part in the team. Several medals were collected for both the team position and the individual position (based on time).

Only two days later, it was the Richmond Schools' Cross Country Championships. Here, Hampton dominated. Medals included Marcus Solomon defending his title from last year in the junior category whilst cross country captain Henry Fagan finished second in the senior category.

Several other Hamptonians including a stalwart of Hampton cross country, Daniel Clarke, also qualified for the next round: Middlesex Schools' Championships.

The following week was Hampton’s home fixture: the Parlauf Relay. A race like no other, this comprised a race of teams of four runners who had to run as far as they could in 28 minutes round the School fields, with each runner running as far and often as their teams saw fit.

Be it tactics or superior aerobic capacity, the Hampton A team won, lapping their next competitor, with the B team also winning the B team race. Two days later was the Christmas Handicap, a 1.8 mile time trial around a route devised by Mr Clarke when he first joined Hampton.

This race saw almost everyone beat their personal bests, with the cross country captain moving to second on the all-time Hampton pupil list, only two seconds shy of first place. It was a significant event as it concluded the season for the majority of Hampton’s athletes, and for the Upper Sixth, their last ever race. After some hard training over Christmas and into the New Year, Hampton’s finest took the trip north, all the way to Harrow, for the Middlesex Schools' Cross Country Championships.

Despite the usual brutal course being in play, Hampton came away with two qualifications to the English Schools' Cross Country Championships, the author of this review and Marcus Solomon, who once again defended his title from last year.

The day of the final race of the season was upon us: the nationals. This year held in Nottingham, the furthest the athletes had to travel for a race all year, and the fastest they have had to run. Both Hampton runners raced well and came away satisfied with their season, enjoying the most competitive race for any schoolboy runner against the best in the country.

None of this would have been possible without the encouragement, kindness and enthusiasm of Mr Clarke, who leaves Hampton this year, having transformed Hampton School Cross Country into what it is today.

Hampton Cross Country has flourished this year with titles defended, personal bests shattered and impressive debuts from the next generation of athletes. Reflecting on the ins and outs of the year is Henry Fagan


Lower Sixth Form pupil Caleb


When did you start playing?

I started playing when I was six. I’m originally from the US so there was this local park where I’d play a couple times a week. At the age of eight, I actually went to train at an academy. To be really good at tennis, you have to play several times a week; I think at this point I was playing around six times per week.

Who is your favourite professional player?

It’s always been Federer, but of course he’s retired now. I think I’d have to go with Djokovic, and I know how lots of people don’t like how he comes across as, maybe, not the friendliest guy and a bit arrogant, but I feel like his athleticism is unrivalled.

How much do you play per week?

Right now, I play two to three times per week; I train after School on Tuesday; Games on a Wednesday and at the weekend I try to play a friendly match or a club match.

What is the biggest challenge about tennis?

What is your favourite way to win a point or a match?

For me, the most satisfying way is hitting a passing shot – when your opponent has charged the net, is on the offensive and you are able to hit a passing shot down the line. One of my favourite shots is the backhand cross court because your opponent will usually assume that it is your weaker side.

What has been your greatest achievement when playing for Hampton?

My greatest achievement, in terms of tournaments - we’ve made it to the semi-finals of the Surrey League Championship a couple times. Usually, when you get to the quarters or semis, you start to face tough boarding schools like Reed's School or Seven Oaks, and these guys have all the time in the world to train because they are living on campus.

What do you like about tennis that puts it above other sports?

Tennis is a highly technical sport. I prefer playing singles because I like to be in control of my fate and turn around the match if I want to. Each match is an emotional rollercoaster, you can be dominating up until the last few games, and then all of a sudden the tables turn. After you win one set, it’s almost like a reset.

Stamina, mental stamina, to get through a whole match and the ups and downs, just getting through that. But also the barrier to entry, you need to start young to compete at a high level.

What tips would you give to younger pupils at Hampton, wanting to improve at tennis?

Just keep playing as much as possible, but try and compete. Quite a lot of people spend lots of time in training but don’t compete. When there’s something at stake, it’s a different game. For beginners, just learn how to hit top spin, when people start hitting the ball harder, you need that to control the ball.

Weinstein is one of Hampton's most talented senior tennis players - he caught up with George Scholes.


Few young sportsmen boast as much promise and talent as Fifth Year pupil Rajat Makkar. Vishal Saha spoke with him about his journey to achieving the title of International Master (IM), as well as what the future may hold.


In the world of chess, achieving the title of International Master (IM) is a remarkable feat. With millions of chess players worldwide, only a select few, around 4,000 individuals, hold the esteemed title of IM. Notably (at the time of writing) Rajat stands as one of just two players in the United Kingdom, at the U20 level, who have secured this remarkable award.

Attaining the IM title in chess is an arduous and lengthy journey that demands a great deal of dedication and perseverance. To become an IM, a player must reach an International Chess Federation (FIDE) rating of 2400 or above and accomplish three performance ‘norms’ in FIDE-rated tournaments.

'Norms’ are attained by meeting specific performance criteria across a designated number of games in competitive tournaments. Rajat emphasises that improving one's rating requires "consistently playing at a high level." A fortunate victory against a higher-rated player does not translate into a higher ranking. Instead, it is about maintaining an elevated standard of play over an extended period.

Rajat's journey in chess commenced from a very young age. "I started around 4 or 5-years-old and my dad actually introduced the game to my sister first, which then inspired me." The early context of Rajat's life played a pivotal role in his chess success. For example, living in France during his early years, he played at the prestigious Cannes Chess Clubrenowned for nurturing young talent. The club’s convenient location provided him with countless opportunities to challenge himself against stronger opponents as Rajat lived a mere "five minutes away from the club."

Another significant factor contributing to Makkar's success is his longstanding coach. A long-term coaching relationship is extremely useful for players since the coach becomes familiar with their strengths and weaknesses enabling them to provide tailored guidance throughout their chess journey. Nowadays, Rajat commits to two lessons a week with his coach. He jokingly tells me, "I think I actually have a lesson with him today!"

Moreover, given it is a profoundly psychological game, Rajat has dedicated himself to cultivating a positive mindset throughout his chess career. "When I was younger, I tried to be cautious and avoid mistakes. But now, I try not to get too affected by [the games]. If I make a mistake in an important match, you know, it happens – my opponent is probably going to make a mistake as well because he’s not perfect," he shares.

Reflecting on his most memorable game, Rajat finds it difficult to choose just one. However, he vividly recalls an intensely fought tournament in France while representing the Cannes Chess Club.

"It was a very important team match. The match score was 7-6 to the opposition. It was only my game left, so I had to win this game to help the team top the overall group stage. Somehow, I managed to end up winning from not the best position." This is an example of the camaraderie and team spirit within the chess community - Rajat in particular cherishes the feeling of winning "when your whole team is depending on you."

The question of whether chess should be classified as a sport (like rugby or football) remains a subject of ongoing debate, Rajat argues "people underestimate how difficult it is." Unlike some sports that provide instant gratification for beginners, Rajat says in chess, "you only get the reward after hours of work."

Furthermore, as Rajat juggles his Fifth Year and GCSE exams, he acknowledges that his available hours for chess have reduced. "It is much less than before," he admits, as his focus shifts towards revising. Nevertheless, his dedication to the game is truly remarkable. [Before GCSEs] "I used to play chess for about two hours every school day and dedicate five or six hours each day at the weekend. So, I probably averaged between 18-25 hours per week," he reveals.

Rajat's training regime focuses on three key areas: openings, positional play and calculations, as well as endgame. Rajat emphasises the importance of calculation, in particular, this refers to the ability to anticipate and think several moves ahead.

However, despite his immense talent and potential, I am somewhat surprised by Rajat’s reservations about making chess a full-time career. He candidly tells me: "It can be very stressful as a professional chess player, and it is not necessarily the best paid job. But I always want to keep it on the side." Rajat's thoughtful attitude regarding his future chess career reveals a high level of maturity, as well as his commitment to ultimately finding a more balanced path in life.

With the IM title secured, Rajat has set his sights on an even more ambitious goal: "I’ll be aiming for Grandmaster Title (GM) hopefully by the end of my Hampton career. I think I am capable of it because I have almost got there twice before - but unfortunately I drew and lost in both the must-win games to earn the GM norms."

Overall, Rajat's extraordinary journey in chess, as well as his unwavering dedication, serves as a true inspiration for any aspiring chess players. As he embarks on his journey towards the GM Title, we eagerly await the next chapter in this prodigy's already incredible chess career.



Many talented footballers have graced the fields of Hanworth Road throughout the School’s 466-year history, although perhaps none as impressive as 16-year-old wonderkid Joshua King.

From the iconic 3G to the slightly more notable St George’s Park, King has gathered a vast amount of footballing experience and has achieved remarkable accolades during his career at both club and country level as well as at Hampton.

Director of Football Mr Burke’s arrival at Hampton in 2017 sparked a new era for Hampton football, becoming the holders of the nationally acclaimed ESFA tournament, having won the competition for the first time in their history in 2018-19.

Recently, Hampton’s footballing production line has been incredibly fruitful, with Shaun-Chris Joash and Stathis Kalathias receiving Division 1 scholarships from top American colleges, and Chibuzo Nwoko being signed to Fulham last year. However, the freshest product and most exciting talent to come out of this footballing factory is Josh King.

“I’ve always believed that hard work beats talent.” King’s playstyle is aesthetic and seamless. Yet his journey, his England call-up, was far from smooth or simple. His rise to footballing joy was no miracle; “consistency is a really important part of any footballer’s development,” he said, “the people who put more effort into the training end up with the best results.” This has been the mindset King has maintained ever since the Covid-19 outbreak.

In fact, King saw the pandemic as an opportunity: “I used to run at least 1km everyday during lockdown as well as extra training. It’s the things people don’t see that can have the biggest impact on a player’s development.” The effect it had on King exceeded even his own expectations, breaking Fulham’s all-time record for most distance covered in a single game: a mammoth 12.8km. The record was previously held by current Liverpool midfielder Harvey Elliot, another sign of potential future glory for the Hampton star.

Whilst appreciating his academy coaches’ efforts, King also had high praise for the Hampton staff: “All the coaches at Hampton were always supportive and they played a big part in my development,” particularly highlighting Mr Hurst’s contribution at U12 level: “Mr Hurst used to set me challenges during matches, like a touch limit, making me more complete as a footballer.”

King also stated gratitude for Messrs Burke, Ritchie and Mills in the U15, U16, and First XI teams. “Mr Burke always placed huge importance on my weak foot. He was the one who really opened my eye to the importance of using both feet on the pitch - it gives you more options and makes you a more unpredictable player.”

This season, King has enjoyed the most successful year of his career. He impressed early on in 2022, etching his name into the 19-man Fulham squad in Switzerland, for the FC Aesch U19 tournament in July.

Following the tour’s success, King made his U18s Fulham debut in September 2022 - aged 15 - against West Ham. “I didn’t expect to be given much opportunity this season partly due to my size but also due to the competitiveness of the squad,” King claimed earlier in the season. Yet, he has made an impressive 15 appearances, even scoring the opener

Having already contributed to the First XI's 2022-23 ESFA Final victory, Josh King shows no signs of slowing down. Omer Demiral chatted to him about playing football at Hampton, his proudest accomplishments and aspirations for the future.


in a 4-0 victory over Aston Villa. “But I’ve worked hard,” he added, “I’ve done a lot to be in the position that I am now.”

It seems his efforts are paying off, as King’s quality is being noticed more and more. His season was perhaps best summed up in an article written by Dave Fraser of ‘The Sun’ regarding the England U16 side, describing King as ‘a regular for the Cottager’s [Fulham] U18’s,’ adding that he “has become a key member of Fulham and England’s youth ranks.”

However, this success has brought with it the responsibility of an inextricable commitment to a footballing career. Consequentially, King was compelled to leave Hampton and go forth into the next chapter of his exciting Fulham career, adding, “Hampton is a great place for me to enjoy my football. I really appreciated how the School helped me balance Fulham and England training with schoolwork - all my teachers have always been so understanding, but there comes a time where you just have to move on.”

King’s elite technique and unmatched agility have made him an invaluable player for Hampton sides throughout the years as he led his teams to an U12 County Cup final, U13 ISFA semi-final and U15 ISFA quarter-final, culminating in his most successful season of all: 2022-23. Throughout the season, King excelled, leading a variety of age groups to silverware in multiple competitions. He helped the U16 side lift the County Cup trophy, despite missing the majority of their matches with either England, Fulham, or Hampton First XI duty.

In the final, the U16 manager, Mr Mills, substituted him on late into the game with victory seemingly inevitable, yet King still displayed his brilliance with a dazzling solo goal, rounding the keeper and gently tapping the ball into the back of the net.

Although King contributed to the U16’s success, he played a much more integral role in the First XI’s impressive run to national glory. King’s ability

to bring out the best in others, whilst imposing his own talent makes King one of the best in the country. He unfailingly demonstrated this across the ISFA and ESFA competitions, scoring six goals and creating countless opportunities for his teammates. In the opening rounds of the ESFA Cup, he scored in all three games, including a last-minute equaliser against Richard Challoner and an impressive brace against KGS.

His later contributions in these tournaments were particularly pivotal. King played valiantly in a 3-1 loss against Royal Russell in the ISFA semifinal, conceding that they were “a top side and an incredibly tough opposition.” Merely 92 days after the disappointment of that semi-final exit, Stoke City’s Stadium played host to the most highly regarded fixture in English Schools’ Football – the ESFA Cup final.

Ahead of the game, First XI captain Matthew Moffatt had plenty of praise for King; “Josh is honestly the humblest guy. Unlike most kids from academies who play in schools, Josh always puts the team first and fits right in with the group.” Moffatt happened to be the first teammate to hug him in celebration when King doubled Hampton’s lead against Shrewsbury in the final, seconds after coming on. King spoke regarding the game stating, “it was the best possible way to end my career at Hampton - it felt so good lifting that trophy.”

The future of the 16-year-old midfield prodigy looks bright, and the upcoming season could see him break into Fulham’s first team. “I’m hoping for some chances with the Fulham U21s next year and sometimes during preseason you can even get moved up into the first team. It’s all part of the process and I just have to continue making the most of my opportunities.” In a generation burgeoning with talent, cementing his name into a regular role will prove an arduous task. Yet, any Hamptonian will tell you the same - Josh King is special.



Hampton School’s TALK! series has seen speakers from all backgrounds standing on the stage of the Hammond Theatre and sharing their experiences with pupils and parents alike. From politics to journalism and medicine to rugby, the opportunities offered are invaluable.

However, one event stood out to me. On an autumn evening in November, we were fortunate to enjoy 90 minutes of captivating conversation between Australian Rugby great, Michael Lynagh; upcoming star and Old Hamptonian, Louis Lynagh OH (2019); and fellow Old Hamptonian and The Times Deputy Rugby Correspondent, Will Kelleher OH (2010).

Having spoken to Kelleher before the event, his memories of Hampton have certainly not faded away. Having been editor of the Hampton Sports Chronicle from 2009 to the end of his time at the School, he had an almost tangible appreciation for the opportunities this provided him, as it helped boost him on to journalistic success in later life.

Kelleher reminisced on Mr Peter Smith, the former head of the Hampton Sports Chronicle, before his departure in 2020. Furthermore, he was certainly impressed by the technological developments the magazine has taken over the past decade, chiefly,

the transition from ‘newspaper-style print’ to the glossy magazine-style adopted for our annual publication, as well as the HSC website.

Kelleher’s contribution to the School didn’t go amiss, receiving the Dennis King Cup upon his farewell. This is awarded to leavers who have committed much of their time and effort to the School with loyalty, modesty and efficiency.

Moving forward, Kelleher’s success in journalism is inspirational to say the least. At the age of 29, he has achieved monumental feats for various UK publications. His career was kick-started in 2015, by the Daily Mail, with Kelleher reporting on a wide range of rugby news, from player-specific articles to Fiji’s chances in the England Rugby World Cup in 2015.

The Hampton School TALK! series saw rugby duo Michael and Louis Lynagh in conversation with Will Kelleher OH (2010). Harry McLusky tells us about their insightful discussion.

His talent in journalism earned him a promotion to Deputy Rugby Correspondent at The Times, in January 2022. At the time of writing, Kelleher has published three articles in the past 24 hours, primarily due to the uncertain future of the England National Team, following the sacking of Head Coach Eddie Jones.

Kelleher’s fascination towards Michael and Louis Lynagh during the TALK!, as well as their shared passion for rugby, was recognisable even from the distant heights of the balcony, from where I watched the event. He guided the conversation perfectly, covering the collective careers of the two fearsome rugby players beside him.

Louis Lynagh is of particular interest to Hamptonians, many of whom he has already inspired through accomplishments after leaving Hampton in 2019. His time at the School certainly catalysed his climb to success, with Lynagh’s reflections upon his favourite moments, exemplifying his gratitude, as well as his enjoyment of Hampton life.

Most of all, Lynagh drew upon an intense game against Dulwich College in October 2018 - his last year at the School. Under the captaincy of Lynagh, the First XV were trailing with seconds to go in the second round of the National Cup. However, Hampton’s typical resilience, perseverance, and determination led to a spectacular moment in the dying embers of the match. Lynagh described the elation felt as substitute James Thompson crossed the try line, and wheeled off in celebration against the backdrop of a packed crowd, jubilant with the feeling of triumph over an arch-rival. Lynagh described this as his "most memorable Hampton moment," and with good reason.

Although Hampton eventually succumbed to Hurstpierpoint in the quarter-final, the feeling of victory can never be underestimated. Indeed, Lynagh commented that he felt a certain "anticipation to return to Hampton" for the TALK!, further manifesting the nostalgia that is present here for him and thousands of other alumni, including his interviewer, Will Kelleher.

On the contrary, Michael Lynagh, perhaps one of the most successful Australian rugby players of all time, had a different introduction to the world of rugby.

Having grown up in Brisbane, Australia, Michael started his career at the University of Queensland in 1982. His brief stint in English rugby with Saracens


between 1996 and 1998, included his famous lastminute drop goal to win a tight match against Newcastle Falcons. However, nothing during his club career could possibly match his contribution for his country. Lynagh received 72 caps for Australia, scoring 911 points in the process, and winning the World Cup in 1991 (a feat we all hope Louis may be able to match in the near future with England).

The topic of international representation was prominent, with Michael particularly reminiscing on re-watching the 1991 World Cup Final with his son, as a way to persuade him into following in his footsteps in the yellow and green of the Wallabies. Despite this brief inducement, Louis Lynagh showed appreciation towards his father’s lack of forcefulness with regards to his rugby career. Perhaps, his relaxed attitude towards his son helped to morph Louis’s perception of the game, which was perfectly summed up by his word of advice to one current Hamptonian.

In response to their question regarding the mindset he adopts towards improvement, he declared that you shouldn’t "forget about what you’re super good at. By focusing on what you’re not so good at, when you catch up with the things you are great at, you’re a completely balanced player." This mindset is also taken into training, with Louis committing "the same effort into Hampton and Harlequins."

Louis’s mentality is just one reason behind his recent successes, including his crucial two late tries against Exeter (at Twickenham) in the 2021 Premiership Final, and his subsequent call-up to the England training squad later that year. Although Louis is currently injured, he assured us that he was well on the road to recovery, and we can not wait to see where his talent takes him in the future.

With the France 2023 World Cup on the horizon, the race is on. However, no matter the outcome, it is undeniable that Louis’s feats on the rugby pitch are an inspiration to all Hamptonians. This is matched off the field by Will Kelleher, and, with both still being at a young age, the opportunities for their careers are endless.

We would like to thank Michael, Louis and Will for a fantastic TALK!, and wish them well for the future, hopefully full of rugby achievements both on and off the field.

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



In the world of sport, where athletic prowess and physical abilities often take centre stage, there exists a remarkable yet frequently overlooked force that can shape the outcomes of victory and defeat – the power of the mind. Welcome to the captivating realm of sports psychology, where the mind becomes the ultimate game changer.

I had the privilege of speaking with Miss Peck, member of Hampton’s Psychology department, to gain a first-hand glimpse into the world of sports psychology. She brings a wealth of experience, having dedicated seven years to the field.

According to Miss Peck, sports psychology can be roughly defined as "working with athletes, coaches and organisations in order to enhance [sporting performance] through the study of psychological factors."

Reflecting on her journey, Miss Peck recalls how her undergraduate studies in psychology, particularly "the social and bio psychology aspects" ignited her interest. Therefore, having played netball at national level since age ten, as well as excelling in athletics, she saw the potential to merge her passions and make a meaningful impact in the world of sports. "I thought maybe I could marry [these] two interests together – as I knew it would be rewarding to help someone with a passion similar to mine."

Throughout her career, Miss Peck has worked with a diverse range of clients, from grassroots athletes and coaches focused on wellbeing in sport to national level tennis players and footballers. This has even included assisting ex-olympians transitioning into new careers. Regardless of the context, Miss Peck emphasises that "there has always been the same focus – for me to be person-centred in my job. Looking at what an individual needs and trying to work out how to extract the best performance from them."

When asked to recount her most memorable experience, Miss Peck takes a thoughtful pause.

Among the many cases she has encountered, one in particular stands out - a runner who grappled with the relentless grip of perfectionism.

"She was constantly placing lots of pressure on herself every training session. If she did not achieve the time she wanted, she would beat herself up and get really upset - leading her to a negative thought cycle that was causing a burnout."

Through the application of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), Miss Peck played a pivotal role in reshaping the runner's mindset when it came to training.

Sports psychologists employ a diverse range of techniques, such as CBT, to assist athletes in improving their performance. These approaches may involve visualisation exercises and the establishment of pre-performance routines.

"For example, you can help a client be in a calm state and imagine the sporting scenario that might bring on anxiety. We then restructure the visualisation by helping them imagine a more positive outcome of a certain sporting event."

From professional sporting experience to the classrooms of Hanworth Road, the career of Psychology teacher, Miss Peck, is certainly impressive. Vishal Saha met with her to discuss the prominence of her subject within a sporting context.


Furthermore, Miss Peck argues that the application of these mental techniques is not limited to highly proficient or skilled athletes only. Instead, they are relevant to athletes - and indeed Hamptonians - at all stages of their journey whether they find themselves captaining the First XI squad or partaking in U12E football.

To truly harness the potential of these mental techniques, Miss Peck advises you decide a clear vision for your chosen sport. "Ask yourself whether you want to play for fun or move up into a higher team?"

Moreover, reflection plays a significant role in the development of an athlete’s mindset. "Celebrate and recognise successes but also think constructively about when things don’t go how you want them to."

Coaches, too, bear a significant responsibility in fostering a culture of growth mindset within their teams. Miss Peck suggests that "one-on-one meetings" between coaches and athletes can serve as pivotal moments for instilling a mindset that embraces challenges, values hard work and encourages resilience.

Miss Peck highlights that sport itself offers a multitude of benefits to society: "It provides health, connection, community, and enjoyment. As a sports psychologist, if you can help people enjoy their sport a little bit more, then you are assisting with improving wellbeing across the board."

Furthermore, Miss Peck recognises that sports psychology is evolving in tandem with advancements in technology and scientific research. Miss Peck envisions the possibility of technologically enabled psychological interventions. "For example, some counselling assistance is now being moved to apps."

This transition to virtual platforms could very much be a force of good. "Sports psychology can become more accessible to more people as a result of having those sorts of tools."

Nevertheless, in her experience, Miss Peck does still prefer face-to-face interactions with clients. "You gather more non-verbal cues when you are in the same room. Also, when people join a video call, I’m never quite sure what they have just come from and which environment they are in."

One of the most iconic and mentally challenging moments in sport is taking a penalty kick in a highstakes football match like a cup final.

Regrettably, England fans have often experienced heartbreak with instances such as Saka's miss in Euro 2020 against Italy or Harry Kane's miss in the World Cup quarter-final against France - denying us 'bringing football home.' So, how does one prepare for such intense pressure?

If Miss Peck had the opportunity to offer advice to a player facing this situation, she would emphasise the significance of pre-performance routines. By establishing a consistent routine leading up to the penalty kick, players can create a sense of familiarity and calm their mind.

"Generally, I would want them to think about it as any other kick in training. People choke in high pressure situations because they are overthinking due to fear of it going wrong."

Finally, I ask if she has any advice for younger Hamptonians looking to go into a sports psychology career: "Read widely – I would say sports psychology is still in its infancy as a discipline and there are a lot of theories being challenged or modified."

"Most importantly, be curious and be creative. Doing something like a counselling skills certificate helps you learn some tools and techniques for interacting with clients in positive way - learning things like how to reflect back the things the client says. This will cultivate better conversation in future sessions."

In conclusion, the world of sports psychology demonstrates the powerful influence of the mind on athletic peformance. Through this conversation with Miss Peck, we have witnessed the transformative impact of techniques like CBT and visualisation exercises. These mental strategies, applicable to athletes at all levels, have the potential to unlock untapped abilities and help us all ultimately enjoy sport more.



The 3G is the home of Hampton sport. From the lunchtime 'one-bounce' games to ESFA semi-finals, it has hosted some of the most significant events in Hampton's history. After a brief hiatus, it has returned with a refurbished surface and looks better than ever. Tom Scrimshaw reports.

This year at Hampton has brought many highlights and achievements: both sporting and academic. However, one of the most celebrated moments was the completion of the new 3G sports ground. The old 3G provided an excellent playing surface for Hamptonians during its many years, so the summer offered the perfect opportunity for its restoration.

The 3G provides a great place for pupils to play a wide range of sports, and is enjoyed by everyone, especially at break and lunchtime. However, the 3G is only a relatively recent addition to the Hampton facilities. I interviewed English teacher and football coach Mr Toby Green (OH) 1995, who reflected on his memories of the 3G and sport more generally at Hampton.

Before the 3G was initially built on the right hand side of the School, the space was used to accommodate the First XI football pitch at the end nearest Hanworth Road. Mr Green fondly remembers the pitch, describing it as being a “pristine, beautiful pitch” and remembers that “The old football coach, Mr McLean, used to come and shout at anyone who stood on it! No-one was allowed on the First XI football pitch until they were in the team!”

When asked for his thoughts on the new 3G, Mr Green described it as being “awesome” and illustrated his jealousy for “the extremely lucky boys who have the opportunity to use such a brilliant facility on a day-to-day basis.” Although the 3G provides a great space for boys to play football, Mr Green tells me that “Mr Hurst has declared that the 3G’s surface is still a bit slow and needs to speed up a little bit.”

On being asked whether he preferred the sports field or 3G, Mr Green proclaimed “As a cricketer, nothing beats the sports fields! Having all the cricket squares there is absolutely magnificent.” However, “As someone who played a lot of muddy football in my youth, having a place like the 3G where you can run around playing sport without getting muddy is brilliant!”

The 3G provides a great playing surface for boys to use in all weather conditions, which Mr Green describes as being “A great option, because when I was at the School and it rained, you weren’t allowed on the fields so essentially there were long periods of time where you wanted to play football, but couldn’t because the pitches would become waterlogged.”

The surface has become a much valued facility by pupils and staff alike and is often one of the most enjoyable aspects to lunchtime and wider sport at Hampton. Upon being asked what the 3G means to him, Mr Green tells me: “As a teacher, when you go out and see all the boys at lunchtime playing on the 3G, it’s brilliant because we spend a lot of time with Hamptonians in the classroom so it is great to see everyone enjoying themselves together outside.”

Speaking about the vibrant energy of the Hampton boys, he added: “I think it’s on the 3G that we really see this, with year groups and classes having a wonderful time together, and I think seeing how much enjoyment the boys get out of the 3G is excellent.”

The new astro tennis courts at the end of the 3G have also failed to disappoint. With tennis being a popular summer term choice of sport, the new courts offer much more space. Adding to the six allweather tennis courts on site, the new astro courts will undoubtedly play host to a high standard of tennis in the years to come.



Social League often contains some of the most bizzare and unorthodox footballers. Tom Oliver breaks down the typical players that you will come across on a Wednesday afternoon.


A fixture of every social league side, the 'keeper unfailingly manages to pull off a series of world class saves against your team, before eventually conceding via a horrific error. Given that he is actually a right back and has no gloves, the 'keeper has no right to be playing this well.! Come to think of it, maybe this has something to do with your team's strikers?


Although he is really too good at football to be playing in social league, the Second XI winger would prefer to spend his Wednesday afternoon nutmegging unsuspecting defenders than going to strength and conditioning. Unfortunately for his teammates however, he will not pass the ball under any circumstances. The Second XI winger can usually be spotted attempting Cruyff turns on his own goal line or losing possesion after attempting to take on an entire defence at once.


The centre-back is the epitome of passion in social league. Always willing to put his body on the line for the side, with crucial blocks and challenges, he is often the only player on his team actually interested in defending. Despite his incredible fighting spirit, the centre-back never really learned to win the ball standing up. Actually, he never learned any footballing skill other than slide tackling. Unsurprisingly, he sees every loose ball as an opportunity to launch into a crunching challenge. The way he mixes premier league aggression with social league talent can only be admired.


The striker is a crucial part of every social league side. He is often seen trying to stand as far offside as possible without the referee noticing, or attempting to crash home rebounds from two yards. Sadly for the striker, social league referees see everything. Even more sadly, the striker is definitely the worst finisher on his team. He is generally presented with a few dozen golden chances each game, but his teammates can only watch in awe as he tries his best to hit the LEH flagpole. If he does eventually score, don't expect to hear the end of it for weeks. The striker prides himself on his technique and postional instincts in the box, adamantly refusing to recognise how terrible he is at both of these things. He insists that he is the star player not only on his team, but in the entire social league. His teammates disagree.


Normally the captain of his side, the professional spends the majority of the game shouting instructions at his teammates, while making no effort to assist them. Although the professional is the first to blame his teammate when his own horrendous pass is intercepted, he is also the first to celebrate his team's goals. If the professional himself scores, expect him to knee slide on the 3G, or maybe even take his shirt off. Distraught when his team loses and ecstatic when they win, the professional lives and breathes social league. He can often be found with a whiteboard attempting to craft an innovative new tactic for the next round of games, or watching Pep Guardiola edits as he contemplates how similar he and the City manager really are.



Calogero Scannella OH

Football is a sport that captivates the hearts of millions around the world. From children playing in the streets to professional athletes competing in international tournaments, it has the power to unite and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds. For Calogero Scannella and his six fellow alumni, their passion for the game has led them down a path that they never expected. Just four years ago, the young entrepreneurs had finished their time at Hampton, and decided to purchase struggling tenth tier side, Walton & Hersham FC. Despite some unexpected and frankly unprecedented obstacles they have had to overcome, the club’s recently-conquered third consecutive promotion puts them in an elite group of only nine teams in English football history to have completed the feat…and they look to be showing no signs of slowing down.

After leaving school, Scannella spent some time studying Economics and Finance at the University of Surrey. Whilst having learned a lot, he commented that unfortunately, the course bore little resemblance to his monetary responsibilities within a footballing framework. In fact, it was this lack of prior knowledge and consequent necessity for improvisation that he found most challenging about his role. “Whatever problem comes your way, you just have to learn it, learn what it’s about, learn a new skill and overcome it.”

Needless to say, Scannella’s responsibilities within the club extend beyond those of a financial nature. “Whether it be money, football, fan, media or law related,” another significant challenge of his role is certainly present within the breadth of matters he has to deal with. Whilst you could be forgiven for succumbing to the extraordinary pressure of such a full-on job, Scannella and his co-owners have not. To mention just a few, Walton & Hersham FC have since their new ownership: boosted an average match day attendance from 40 to 400 people, hosted over 2,000 fans in a play-off final against Hanworth Villa and gained a three promotions in their 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23 campaigns.



The side’s recent success can, of course, not be attributed to a sole cause. In fact, Scannella remarked that the “joint drive of everyone involved” is a contributing factor. He elaborated by adding that “Everyone is willing to go above and beyond to keep it rolling.” Whether it be putting flyers around town at midnight or early rises to negotiate a sponsorship deal, they seem to have cultivated a genuinely energetic, proactive and forward-thinking atmosphere since the takeover. “You will never know if something works unless you try it.”

One of the club’s most distinguishing and wellrenowned features is undoubtedly their social media presence. The journey began in early 2020, when a parent at Hampton asked to attend a game and film a bite-sized 90-minute documentary, which ended up being well received. A few months later came the onset of Covid and the subsequent lack of anything to do for the owners. They decided to post small clips of the footage, the first few of which received over 950k views, and content of a different nature followed.

Having got a sense for the evident public interest in a Walton & Hersham TikTok account, the concept properly kicked off the season after. Sartej Tucker OH (2018) came up with the idea for a match day vlog and once again, upon receiving resounding success, it was followed up on by the owners.

(2018) and his fellow
made footballing history after purchasing non-league side
& Hersham FC four years ago. Josh Hood revisited the decision, to see what the owners have accomplished since the takeover.

Now, three years on, match day vlogs are uploaded after every game, the footage of which is obtained by a professional filming company. The TikTok account boasts over one million followers - the most of any non-professional team, seeing off competing high-profile club owners, including those of Wrexham AFC.

Though his job may seem glamorous, Scannella was keen to get across that being responsible for an established football club such as Walton & Hersham FC is far from straightforward. From the outset, the young owners had to make the difficult decision of changing their management staff. Scannella iterated the importance of “growing the football club and growing the community just as much as winning football matches” as an objective for their chosen appointment, which has certainly been fulfilled so far. It is often easy to get caught get up with the here and now in terms of results, but seeing the bigger picture and supporting the “long term sustainability” are equally as crucial according to the 22-year-old.

By way of advice, he would give to someone trying to follow a similar path, Calogero replied, “Don’t.” Often receiving comments regarding how jealous or surprised people are with the attractiveness of his role, he explained that there is more to the “really fun and cool appearance.” It’s unfortunately not as easy as “clocking into work at 9, and out of work at 6 everyday.” Ranging from getting a text at 11pm that a player wants to leave, or an early morning transfer swoop for your star striker, his job description is by no means stress-free.

As with any business, the significance of relationships and connections cannot be overstated. The Hampton alumni recognise this, and aside from gaining commercial success on the back of impressive

sponsorship deals, a relationship that particularly appeals to the owners has not yet been explored. Scannella expressed a clear desire for future contact with Hampton, whether it be through the form of delivering an assembly or encouraging pupils to come and support on a match day.

Looking ahead to the future, Scannella and his coowners show no lack of enthusiasm and optimism regarding their continued involvement in the club. He spoke of the team’s aspiration to reach the National South Division within five years, at which point they “will reach (their) first ceiling of competing with full time clubs.”

When asked about his favourite part of the job, Scannella replied, “Everything. Non-league football is so much more engaging for people, so much better in terms of the overall experience. Not only can you speak to the players and the players to the fans, the idea of a community is there. It’s also the fact that we keep building it that’s even better.”

As spectators, it’s exciting to see what this dynamic group of individuals will accomplish next in the world of football. Their story serves as a reminder that anything is possible if you take the initiative and are willing to put in the effort. With their innovative approach and fresh perspective, the Hampton alumni have breathed new life into a football club, revitalising the local community and inspiring a new generation of fans.

Hampton Sports Chronicle meetings take place on a weekly basis at lunchtimes.

See Mr Sharkey in the English Department for more details.



featured on the HSC website from Daniel Mills, Henry Fagan, Manav Vasanth and Jake O'Reilly.

U15A footballers book their place in the Elgin League final by Daniel Mills

After successfully winning the group, the Hampton U15A team faced a strong Highgate side that had finished second in their respective group. The match kicked off with Hampton quickly on top, the constant pressure paying early dividends by way of a corner. The ball was aimed at the back post by Ollie Swetman and Quinn Schutter was there to head the ball into the back of the net. 1-0 Hampton.

The U15As kept up the pressure and a second goal quickly followed. Once again, it was Swetman with the delivery into the box and this time Nicholas Avetoom was there to score, doubling Hampton’s lead. The home side stayed on top during most of the first half until about five minutes before the break when Highgate put pressure on the Hampton defence. However, they couldn’t get past the Hampton back four and the half time whistle blew with the two-goal cushion firmly intact.

Solomon leaves his mark at Richmond Schools' by Henry Fagan

On a chilly day in December, Hampton’s U20, U17, and U15 team travelled across the river to Richmond Park to compete in the Richmond Borough Championships, with the aim of qualifying for the Middlesex Championships in the new year. For those familiar with Richmond Park, the course was two loops of Sidmouth Wood, a 2.2km undulating route. Despite the rain the previous few days, the ground was firm – perfect for a fast race.

First out were the U15 team, which comprised First to Third Year athletes, some experienced with this race, some making their Hampton debut. Leading the charge right from the gun was Third Year Marcus Solomon, the defending champion from last year. In fact, not even for a second did he give up this lead as he literally ran away from his competition, extending the lead to such an extent that he crossed the finish line without any other athlete in sight – a remarkable achievement by the Hampton runner.

Hampton ran out of the team huddle ready for the second half. Both teams restarted with urgency and defended well. With five minutes to play, Highgate put a good ball into the box that one of their players got on the end of. 2-1. This set up a tense end to the match.

One last chance for Highgate. They had a drop ball on the right hand side and tried to cross into the box, but it went out for a goal kick. The referee blew the final whistle and the Hampton U15As earned their place in the Elgin League final.

Due to scheduling issues, the U17 and U20 races (Fourth Year to Upper Sixth) were set to run together. Hampton's senior athletes put in a stellar performance with at least four Middlesex qualifications and the top three runners (Henry Fagan, Daniel Clarke and Theo Webb) finishing 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively. Unfortunately, Ethan Flack – a strong contender for a medal – had to pull out after his first lap due to achilles issues. It is also worth noting that Daniele Smart, despite his three-year long hiatus due to rowing training and Covid, managed to finish in the top ten and will almost certainly secure a Middlesex qualification in his last year at Hampton.

The very best of the

U12s overcome Isleworth in convincing fashion

In March 2023, an U12A badminton fixture against Isleworth and Syon school took place at Hampton School. with the home side emerging victorious winning 23 games, compared to Isleworth’s 13. This was the first and last badminton match for the First Year team, and they were really looking forward to starting and ending the season on a high. They went into the game nervously, but were extremely excited and wanted to put their best foot forward.

Manav Krishna Kallamvelli Vasanth (one of the Hampton badminton players) said: “We were aware that the Isleworth team had a good coach, who trained the Hounslow Borough team, and we also knew that they would not leave the game to us as they had come quite far to Hampton, meaning that losing without a fight was not an option.”

Overall, Hampton and Isleworth knew that this was going to be a tight set of games, and it would be a good fight to see who would come out on top. There were six pairs for Hampton (it was a doubles match, only in pairs), each playing at the same time. The school that had the greatest number of pairs winning, would win the fixture.

The first game that each pair played went well. Five out of six pairs for Hampton won their games, which made for an extremely promising start.


As well as winning these five games, it was by a huge margin as one of the pairs (Manav Krishna and Kian Thomas) had won their first game 21 points to seven.

As the games unfolded, unfortunately, one of the opponent’s players was injured while playing a backhand shot. This resulted in one of Hampton’s players going over to play for the Isleworth team. After each pair had played three games each, it looked like Hampton were cruising ahead, towards a maiden victory.

However, after more than half of the games were played, there was a sudden lack of concentration by Hampton, and with the pairs playing their fifth game, five out of six games were lost. At this point, it could have been anyone’s game as Hampton had won 17 games, and Isleworth 13. If the home side suffered another lapse, the fixture would be lost.

Thanks to an inspirational team talk, the players were charged up going into their final match. Using all the techniques taught by the coaching staff, Hampton crossed the line winning 23 games to 13. The standout performance was Manav Krishna Kallamvelli Vasanth’s pair with Kian Thomas, winning six games out of six. Overall, it was a brilliant set of matches between the two schools, with lessons that everyone could take away from the fixture.

Solid start for the U13 A rugby team by

In the autumn term, the U13A rugby team took to the field against St George’s Weybridge and secured their much needed first win.

When the opening whistle blew, the ball was sent into the air and landed into Hampton hands. From there, the ball ebbed and flowed between the two teams until 10 minutes in, when the Hampton full-back Oliver Masuria-Hull sprinted down past the opposition winger and opened up the scoring for Hampton.

However, after Hampton scored, the match turned into a stalemate, and no one was able to cross the line. Hampton made gains from the constant running of the pack, and were able to regain many lost balls in the process, but a problem emerged.

Whenever Hampton kicked the ball out of their 22, it ended up in the hands of the St George’s full-back, who proceeded to run a hard line down

the middle of the Hampton defence. The tactic worked and St George’s equalised just before the referee blew the whistle for half time.

When the sides returned for the second half, Hampton had to adapt their tactics. They began sending their forwards down the sides, catching the St George’s centres and wingers off guard. However, both teams fumbled and dropped the ball. Hampton were able to capitalise on this, and scored two tries off free kicks by the fly-half and scrum-half, respectively. But, in the dying embers of the match, the St George’s fly-half scored and gave his team hope going into the final play.

This gave Weybridge one final burst of energy as they ran down the pitch, but it was not enough to get past the Hampton full-back, who took the attack down and gave the Hampton U13A team their first win of the season.

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

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Solid start for the U13 A rugby team by

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U12s overcome Isleworth in convincing fashion

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