Hastings & Bexhill head coach Kevin Smith has taken positives from the rugby club’s torrid welcome to London Three South East.
Newly-promoted H&B were soundly beaten 50-17 at home to a powerful Horsham side on Saturday after conceding several tries during the first half.
H&B did at least rally, though, with three tries of their own towards the end of the game, showing Smith that his side has the capabilities to punish teams at this higher level.
Smith said: “We were only in their third four times and we came away with three tries, so that shows we can get into the red zones and can get points.
“There’s a lot to be hopeful for in the future, but they’re a very good side, and I expect them to challenge for the league title this season.
“In certain areas of the game we are a bit naive and they were playing some very good, clinical rugby. It was the best half of rugby I’ve seen from any side in a long time.”
H&B will hope to bounce back when they travel to Lewes tomorrow (Saturday) and Smith admits they must quickly adapt to the step up in class.
“This will be a tough game, but that’s what we wanted,” he added. “We got promoted and we think we deserve to be here, and the guys are doing everything they can to prove it.”
Rye RFC, meanwhile, will entertain Eastbourne in Sussex One tomorrow following a 10-10 draw at home to Crowborough II in its opening game last weekend.