Champions Trophy Quarter-Final Success
Hampton’s First XV beat Uppingham 27-7 with a dominant first-half performance to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy. Hampton Sports Chronicle Editor, Josh Bartholomew, reports on their quarter-final match:
After a strong showing at St Joseph’s Festival, Hampton were buoyed by confidence and an unbeaten home record as Uppingham made the trip South for the Champions Trophy fixture. It wasn’t long before the home team struck. After powerful forward play forced Hampton into Uppingham’s 22, the First XV found space – centre Tim Lamming combining quickly with Alex Taylor to send Aidan Barry over in the corner, leaving Hampton with a 5-0 lead.
If Hampton’s first try was professionally taken, their second was sublime. Almost straight from the kick-off, they broke to the half-way line with commanding carries from Iestyn Humphrey and Rupert Reddish. But the best was yet to come – after creating space on the left flank, centre Jesper Hartikainen drew his man before finding Jamie Benson with a brilliant offload. The Harlequins fly-half sprinted free, showing excellent acceleration to ensure that only one defender was left to beat, finding captain Patrick Silcox with a ball inside to score a wonderful try.
Uppingham were now firmly on the back foot, but their resilience was admirable as they fought to find a way back into the tie. Yet Hampton’s defence was equally tenacious and they held strong and continued to build on their lead, breaking into opposition territory once more. From an attacking five metre scrum, Hampton spread the ball wide, where replacement winger Rory Carr scored.
Hampton were entirely in the ascendency with the pace of their backline play leaving Uppingham with few answers. After Toby Robinson’s skilful turnover, the ball was spread wide, and London Irish academy player Jesper H was able to sprint into open space. He drew the final defender adeptly to allow Dan Finlay to score in the corner, continuing his four-game scoring streak to give Hampton a 24-0 lead at half-time.
After the interval, Uppingham looked reinvigorated, attacking at pace to threaten the black and gold defensive line. Hampton managed to diminish the opposition menace with their own physicality, forcing numerous errors. The game turned into a scrappy encounter as Uppingham sought to overturn the large deficit, reducing Hampton’s lead to 17 points.
Building some attacking pressure, Hampton took three points, sealing a 27-7 victory to book their place in the semi-finals of the fiercely competitive Champions Trophy. It was a clinical and skilful Hampton performance to beat Uppingham and they look forward to their next match against Rugby School.