Hastings & Bexhill lost to the Kent One leaders, but reached the Sussex Shield final during a hectic weekend.
Although the rugby club was beaten 19-7 away to Gillingham Anchorians on Saturday, they gave the runaway table-toppers what their coach acknowledged as their toughest game of the season.
A well-drilled Gillingham side crucially scored two converted tries in two minutes at the end of a fiercely contested but inconclusive first quarter to lead 14-0 against fourth-placed H&B.
As Gillingham began to tire in the second half, H&B started to win better quality ball and from a scrum on the home five-metre line, the backs moved the ball for Tom Waring (pictured) to score, Paul Sandeman converting.
H&B established themselves in Anchs’ half for the final 10 minutes, pressing desperately for another score. But Anchs had the final say, their left wing racing the length of pitch for the try that sealed the result.
Despite having waged a bruising battle while Rye were fixtureless on Saturday, H&B roused themselves to defeat their neighbours 18-7 on Sunday and set up a Sussex Shield final against Holbrook or Seaford.
A Steve McManus try and Sandeman conversion put H&B 7-0 up after six minutes, and a Sandeman penalty made it 10-0 at half time. A Matt Harbord try and another Sandeman penalty extended the lead before Rye had the last word.
Full reports on both matches will appear in Friday’s Observers.