H&B eye league & cup double

Hastings & Bexhill battle it out with Eastbourne in appalling conditions on Saturday. Picture by Simon Newstead
Hastings & Bexhill battle it out with Eastbourne in appalling conditions on Saturday. Picture by Simon Newstead

Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club is targeting a league and cup double.

That’s the aim according to head coach Kevin Smith as H&B enjoy the festive break off the back of a strong first half of the season.

H&B lie second in Kent One with 10 wins out of 12 and last weekend set up a Sussex Shield semi-final against Bognor with a 14-3 victory at home to local rivals Eastbourne.

Smith said: “We want to go up and we want to win the cup. It’s all to play for. The players know full well what I expect. I’ve told them to enjoy Christmas and have a rest, but we’ve got Vigo on January 4 and that’s going to be difficult because we’ve only got one training session (next Thursday) to run off the Christmas cobwebs; the only fortunate thing is it’s at home.”

H&B are five points off the league summit, but six of their remaining 10 games are at home, including those against leaders Park House and third-placed Cranbrook.

Smith’s side possesses a better points difference than anybody else and the best defensive record. In fact, H&B have conceded only 13 points in their five home league fixtures so far.

“I don’t think that’s been bettered for a long, long time,” continued Smith. “If you were a betting man, you would perhaps make us favourites. It’s ours to throw away.

“I suspect there’s going to be another bump in the road, but if we can keep our consistency, we’re going to be there or thereabouts. We’re very strong at home and we’re taking our defence away with us. We’ve got the best defensive record and we’re scoring tries.”

Smith felt that H&B had the measure of Eastbourne in a match played in atrocious wet, windy and cold conditions. “We were the better side in the collisions and looking after the ball on the ground,” he added. “I think we bullied them up-front.”