england & middlesex seam bowler
I have fond memories of Hampton School and still have many close friends from my time there. Saturday cricket fixtures were always the highlight of the week for me.
Toby Roland-Jones, enjoyed the perfect start to his England Test career at the Oval against South Africa in 2017 when he removed South Africa’s top four with his first 33 balls in Test cricket. He went on to take five wickets in the innings and nine in the match, the best start to an England bowler’s Test career since 1962. It was the culmination to a perfect 12 months for the 30-year-old cricketer. Toby who joined Middlesex County Cricket Club at the age of nine as a junior, delivered a headline grabbing hat trick against Yorkshire at Lord’s Cricket Ground on the last day of the season, securing Middlesex their first County Championship title for 23 years.
Toby says that Hampton gave him a great start in life and has many fond memories of his time at the School: “Saturday cricket fixtures were always the highlight of the week for me. We had a great cricket team and reached the final of the national T20 competition at Edgbaston. I also played football every break time and loved the social football on a Wednesday. I wasn’t any good but it provided a proper game every week.”
Apart from the sport, Toby believes that Hampton offered him a strong all-round platform: “The School helped me to grow and mature as a young adult, building a core of inter-personal skills that have since proved essential. As a cricketer, I developed an ability to analyse and think quickly. As a school boy you learn that coping with pressures of education can translate into dealing with other pressures further on in life, and of course I learned there is no substitute for hard work.”
After leaving Hampton School in 2006, Toby studied Accounting and Management at Leeds University while playing cricket for Leeds/Bradford MCCU.
His big break came three years later when he got the call up from Middlesex County Cricket Club – he has played there ever since and says that he has enjoyed every single minute: “There have been many highlights throughout my career, not least my England test call up. But for me the final day of the 2016 season, when Middlesex won the County Championships after a 23-year gap, is a moment I will never forget. It was so satisfying that all the work that had been put in year-upon-year by the squad was finally rewarded in such a great moment. For me cricket has always been my passion. I fully appreciate how lucky I am to play the game I love and to enjoy what I do every day.”
His message to today’s Hamptonians
Appreciate the support network available at the School and utilise all aspects of it, both co-curricular and academic. In your sport, be fearless and be prepared to make mistakes – this is how we learn best. Remember your school days will be some of the best days of your lives, so enjoy them and make the most of all the opportunities in front of you because the time goes by so quickly. Pursue your passion and your hard work will always be rewarded, even if you have to wait a while!