Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club’s hopes of landing the Kent One title suffered a blow with a 22-14 loss away to Southwark Lancers on Saturday.
Despite their short-comings, it was their superior handling and finishing skills in a first quarter where possession changed hands more often than a knackered Nissan Micra, and a brace of tries by Kit Claughton, that gave H&B a promising 14-3 lead.
A well-taken catch and attack by Calvin Crosby-Clarke from his 22 saw the ball moved well down the backline, Tom Waring breaking for the line, offloading to Claughton to score under the posts, Waring converting.
Southwark hit back from the restart, attacking down the flank, winning a couple of penalties, kicking the second, 7-3. An accomplished catch and break out of his own half by Waring, followed by skilful interplay between Piers Claughton and Anthony Roche, saw Kit Claughton touch down for a 14-3 lead - Waring converting.
Possession and territory continued to ebb and flo, Southwark regular visitors to H&B’s 22, good recycling breaching the visitors’ defence, to close the score to 14-10 on half time.
It was a psychologically crucial score, and in the second half Southwark parked on H&B’s line, earning a penalty try to take the lead. When their number eight broke from another well-won Southwark scrum in H&B’s 22, pounding over untouched, it marked the nadir of H&B’s afternoon, and the result was sealed.
See Friday’s Observers for a full report.
Standings (played-points): 1 Park House 13-55, 2 HASTINGS & BEXHILL 14-50, 3 Cranbrook 13-49, 4 Southwark Lancers 14-38, 5 Vigo 14-35, 6 Old Williamsonians 14-33, 7 Old Gravesendians 13-30, 8 HSBC 13-28, 9 King’s College Hospital 13-27, 10 Sittingbourne 13-14, 11 Foots Cray 12-13, 12 Shooters Hill 12-8.
Rye Rugby Club, meanwhile, has moved up to eighth in Sussex One after receiving a walkover at home to Chichester III on Saturday. The New Roaders have also played a game less than everyone apart from bottom side Haywards Heath II.