H&B enter pivotal period

Hastings & Bexhill's next four Kent One games are against the teams placed third to sixth
Hastings & Bexhill's next four Kent One games are against the teams placed third to sixth

Hastings & Bexhill return to action this weekend knowing they are entering a crucial phase of the season.

The rugby club’s four remaining Kent One fixtures before the festive break are all against clubs placed third to sixth, starting with a trip to Cranbrook tomorrow (Saturday).

“It’s going to be a massive stage,” said H&B head coach Kevin Smith. “Every game is going to be hard and every game is going to have its own different levels of toughness. They’re all good squads that on their day could be contenders as well.”

After losing two of their first three matches, H&B have suddenly chalked up three convincing victories in a row to catapult themselves up to second place and within a point of leaders King’s College Hospital having played a game fewer.

Rye Rugby Club, meanwhile, is certainly in with a chance against the Sussex One leaders. That’s the view of chairman Tony Pierce as Rye prepare to welcome Burgess Hill to New Road tomorrow. Kick-off is 2.30pm.

Pierce said: “I think we’ve definitely got a good chance, but it’s going to be a tough game. I don’t think Rye has got anything to fear from this league and it’s important to get back to winning ways after the defeat to Chichester (Rye lost 49-19 away to Chichester III in their last league outing two weeks ago).”

Both teams have won six and lost one of their first seven league games, although a Burgess Hill side which beat second-placed Eastbourne 34-10 last time out is six points better off than third-placed Rye.

“They’ve just beaten Eastbourne and they’re obviously playing very well,” continued Pierce. “We need to tighten up our scrummaging and our lineout needs a bit of work to be able to be able to compete with them, but home advantage is always quite a decent thing.”

Dave Smith, something of a linchpin in the pack, is still away, but Rye hope to be fairly close to full strength.