Cranleigh secured the Hampton School Founders’ Day 7s title on Wednesday, beating the hosts in an entertaining final, 27-14.
It was a fourth final in a row for Cranleigh, finally breaking a run at the tournament of three successive runners up finishes. For Hampton it was the first year in four that they finished up without silverware, having beaten Cranleigh in the 2016 and 2017 finals and winning last year’s Plate, with Brighton College winning last year’s Cup.
Brighton were absent this year, meaning there was no defending champions but that did nothing to dampen a brilliant tournament in the glorious South West London sunshine.
In the end it was a fitting final too, Cranleigh and Hampton were the dominant sides all afternoon. Cranleigh came through Group 2 with a perfect record putting in some strong performances against tough opposition including Hurstpierpoint College and St John’s Leatherhead, who would go on to win the Plate.
Hampton meanwhile were in great form too, despite losing star man Louis Lynagh to a head knock in their first game. They were on for an perfect group stage too until a draw in their final game against a St Benedict’s side coached by former Hampton coach Zoran Higgins. Nevertheless, the host side knew a draw was enough to take them to the final.
The final itself was a close game for much of it, Hampton led 14-10 at half time and it was proving to be a thrilling game of 7s. However with half-time came the unexpected arrival of the on-pitch sprinkler system. For the players and coaches a major irritation, for those on the sidelines a moment to bring out the giggles.
What it did mean for all though was a change of pitch, and with that came a rousing second half from Cranleigh, perhaps keeping focus a little better or perhaps simply finding their best when they need it most. They scored three superb unanswered points to take the 27-14 victory, with superstar Hayden Hyde once more an outstanding presence on the field.
Meanwhile in the Plate final, contested by those finishing in second place in the two groups, St John’s Leatherhead claimed the silverware with a 31-19 victory over RGS High Wycombe, meaning both trophies went to the sides from that loaded Group 2.
There was also a 2nd VII competition, with six side competing, split into two groups of three.
Hosts Hampton topped Group A with St Paul’s Catholic College winning Group B, that gave them semi finals against the second placed side from the opposite group, Hampton beating John Fisher 41-7 and St Paul’s beating St Benedicts 35-12.
It meant that both Hampton’s 1st and 2nd VIIs had reached their respective finals, however as in the main tournament, the hosts lost out 27-14 to an impressive performance from St Paul’s Catholic College.
Cranleigh were without doubt the headline grabbers, sealing that Cup title after so many years of near misses. They played some glorious 7s throughout, showing a superb combination of patience and ingenuity.
They school have reached the last 3 Rosslyn Park HSBC National School 7s finals as well, winning in 2016 and 2017, with this early season title they have already thrown themselves into the mix of sides to look out for at Rosslyn Park at the end of March. Could a fourth final there be a possibility?
Hampton 7s Results:
Cup Winners – Cranleigh
Plate Winners – St John’s, Leatherhead
2nd VII Winners – St Paul’s Catholic College
Cranleigh 27-14 Hampton
St John’s, Leatherhead 31-19 RGS High Wycombe
Final Group Standings:
|Pos||Group 1||Group 2|
|2||RGS High Wycombe||St John’s Leatherhead|
|3||John Fisher||Hurstpierpoint College|
|4||St Benedict’s||St Paul’s Catholic College|
St Paul’s Catholic College 27-14 Hampton
St Paul’s Catholic College 35-12 St Benedict’s
Hampton 41-7 John Fisher
2nd VII Final Group Standings
|Pos||Group A||Group B|
|1||Hampton||St Paul’s Catholic College|
|2||St Benedict’s||John Fisher|
Images via John Trenholm