Claughton comes to H&B rescue

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Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club began the new year with a 17-12 victory at home to East Grinstead II on Saturday.

Grinstead had already missed a penalty in the opening 15 minutes of this Sussex One fixture before the visitors’ useful number 7 cut a clever angle through the flat-footed defence to take a 0-5 half time lead.

H&B levelled when a quick blind-side pass from the base of a ruck allowed Matt Harboard to dive in and minutes later Piers Claughton, Ben Davies and Ben Arnold combined for Lewis Sealy to put them 10-5 up.

EG went back in front at 12-10 through a converted try under the posts, but 10 minutes from time, several well-worked passing moves were capped by a touchdown under the posts by Claughton, converted by Paul Sandeman.

Elsewhere in the same division, Rye were edged out 18-16 away to Brighton II after a missed tackle allowed the hosts to score the winning try under the posts with 10 minutes remaining.

Rye conceded the opening try, but Toby Aylett kicked a penalty and a Rory Crevin try put them 8-5 up. Another Aylett penalty and Gary Edmunds touchdown made it 16-8 before Brighton came back to steal the win.

Full reports on both games will appear in Friday’s Observers.

Standings (all played 11 matches): 1 Uckfield 53pts, 2 Pulborough 39, 3 HASTINGS & BEXHILL 38, 4 Holbrook 35, 5 Burgess Hill 34, 6 Worthing III 26, 7 Brighton II 24, 8 Seaford 24, 9 East Grinstead II 20, 10 RYE 16, 11 St Francis 8, 12 Eastbourne II 8.