After a fantastic start to the season, Hampton’s 1st XV had high hopes of success at the 2018 St Joseph’s College National Schools Rugby Festival. Josh Bartholomew reports on what happened:

Hampton’s 1st XV repressed a frustrating opening day by beating Eltham College 17-8 to win the plate at the St Joseph’s College Rugby Festival. 

Tries from Theo Johnson, Louis Lynagh and James Thompson were enough to win Hampton’s third trophy in four years at the festival.

Travelling to Ipswich with hopes of winning the cup, as the team did in 2015, Hampton would’ve been disappointed with their results on the first day. Drawn into a ‘group of death’ alongside eventual winners RGS Newcastle, St Peter’s School York and defending champions Brighton College, Hampton were unfortunate to lose two of their pool games.

The team have shown excellent spirit so far this season, as we saw in their last-minute victory over Dulwich earlier this term, and the convincing 24-0 win over St Peter’s York to keep their hopes alive was further evidence of this.

Unfortunately, Brighton College proved to be a challenge too far in the group decider, but Hampton would have the opportunity to claim some silverware in Sunday’s plate competition, as the 1st XV did in 2016.

Hampton’s first plate group game was a tense affair, but a first-half penalty from captain Louis L was enough to secure a 3-0 win over RGS High Wycombe.

After an impressive 24-0 victory against QEGS Wakefield, it all came down to Hampton’s final group game – a crucial clash against John Fisher School.

An early try from Louis L gave Hampton the initial advantage, before the full-back sprinted the length of the field in the closing stages to set up Jack Berg to score and secure Hampton’s place in the final with a 12-0 win.

The 1st XV’s challengers in the final were Eltham College, but Hampton fell behind through an early penalty from Eltham’s fullback. It was no obstacle for a plucky Hampton side, who hit back later in the first-half through a powerful try-line surge from Theo J. Hampton would score again in the opening stanza, this time through England U18 international Louis L, who broke the line from his own half before sprinting past the defence to score.

Though Eltham hit back with a try in the corner after the interval, James T scored in the final minutes to secure an impressive plate victory for Hampton. 

Captain Louis L said:

It was a disappointing first day for everyone involved, however the boys all bounced back brilliantly and we managed to get silverware in a tough final.

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