Hastings & Bexhill’s poor run of form continued with a 57-0 defeat at home to Uckfield on Saturday.
The result meant that Uckfield were crowned Sussex One champions with five games to go and H&B dropped to fifth place - nine points behind Pulborough in the race for second.
The scale of H&B’s task was highlighted by their performance, which was full of endeavour and passion yet still leaked nine tries - three in the first half and six in the second - and scored none.
Elsewhere, Rye were edged out 15-18 at home to an Eastbourne II side which seemed far stronger than its second-bottom position. It was the fifth time in eight games that Rye have lost by three points or less.
Although never ahead, outstanding defence kept Rye in with a chance throughout a very entertaining game. Their points came from two Gary Edmunds tries, and a penalty and conversion by Luke Cross.
Full reports on both matches will appear in Friday’s Observers.
Standings (played 17 matches unless stated): 1 Uckfield 82pts, 2 Pulborough 58, 3 Holbrook 54, 4 Burgess Hill (16) 53, 5 HASTINGS & BEXHILL 49, 6 Brighton II 40, 7 Seaford 40, 8 Worthing III (16) 29, 9 RYE 29, 10 East Grinstead II (16) 26, 11 Eastbourne II 18, 12 St Francis (16) 12.