Survival scrap is ‘must win’

Action from Hastings & Bexhill's 20-12 victory over Lewes in September's reverse fixture. Picture courtesy Danny Simpson
Action from Hastings & Bexhill's 20-12 victory over Lewes in September's reverse fixture. Picture courtesy Danny Simpson
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Hastings & Bexhill head coach Kevin Smith says it will be hard for the rugby club to avoid relegation without winning its final game of 2014.

H&B will entertain Lewes in an important second-bottom versus bottom London Three South East encounter at the ARK William Parker Academy tomorrow (Saturday). Kick-off is 2pm.

Smith said: “If we don’t beat Lewes on Saturday, we’ve got an uphill struggle. I suspect it will be too hard to stay up.”

H&B’s only victory so far this term was a 20-12 success in September’s reverse fixture, and they’ve drawn one and lost nine of their other 10 league matches.

Lewes have lost all 11 of their league games and are yet to pick up a single point, although they were only beaten by 12 points away to fourth-placed Old Dunstonians last weekend.

“Hopefully we’ll get the win on Saturday, but it’s 50-50,” continued Smith. “I don’t think any game’s a banker.”

A win tomorrow could lift H&B out of the bottom two if third-bottom Park House - who beat H&B last weekend - lose at home to second-placed Dartfordians.

“There’s probably three or four teams in that league who could beat us every time they play us,” Smith went on. “A lot of the other teams are not better than us, but we keep losing because they do certain things better than us.”

Smith believes H&B’s cause has been hampered by not having all of his players at training, making it difficult to work on areas of the game which need addressing.

“I like to think we can beat Lewes and then start our season, but we’ve got to really knuckle down and start working,” he added.

“We’re a little bit one dimensional, but that’s all we can be at the moment because we don’t get the numbers to training.

“Practice and discipline will give us the ability to be daring and that sums it up. Every player made a mistake out there on Saturday and they need to practise. You can’t play rugby if you don’t practise.

“If you get the practice right, then you can be daring. If you don’t practise it and don’t train as a unit, you’re not going to be able to do it.

“We’ve got coaches at the club and there’s always a good session to be had. Only the players can pull this round.”

Elsewhere tomorrow, Rye Rugby Club will travel to Eastbourne in a Sussex One top versus bottom encounter.