Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club’s first team moved into Kent One’s top three courtesy of a bonus point victory on Saturday.
H&B made it six wins in their last seven league matches with a 34-10 success at home to bottom-of-the-table and still winless Old Gravesendians.
Head coach Chris Brooks said: “It took a while to get going and we probably squandered a few chances in the first half, but it was a very good all-round performance.
“My only concern really - and it’s only a minor concern - is the number of penalties for technical issues we’re conceding. It is an awful lot.”
Unusually for a home fixture, it was a cold, dry and sunny day with no wind. Despite the eight places between the teams in the table, it was a determined contest, proving once again that there are no easy games in Kent One.
Early pressure from H&B saw OG’s penalised and receive a yellow card. The resulting penalty was converted by Harry Foster.
It took a while to get going and we probably squandered a few chances in the first half, but it was a very good all-round performance.Chris Brooks
OG’s levelled the scores with a penalty of their own. Good forward pressure from H&B, however, resulted in captain Jimmy Adams going over for a converted try.
Immediately before half time, a training ground forwards’ move from the lineout allowed Mark Piotrowski to barrel over. The attempted conversion hit the upright and H&B led 15-3 at the break.
The early part of the second half was played between the two 22-metre lines with no team gaining much of an advantage.
After a series of pick and goes to suck in the OG’s defence, however, Chris Stern picked up from the ruck and with no-one in front of him, turned on the afterburners to score beneath the posts. Foster added the conversion.
H&B continued to apply the pressure, and a trademark side step and dummy by Kit Claughton broke the defensive line. The offload to Ben Campbell put him in space to score beneath the posts. Foster converted to make the score 29-3.
Aided by H&B conceding a high number of penalties, OG’s rallied and mounted sustained pressure on the H&B line. The number eight was able to break through for a converted try.
This galvanised the visiting team and they put pressure on the H&B defence, which once again was up to the task with resolute tackling from the whole side.
Near the death, with OG’s in the H&B red zone, Adams pounced on a loose ball and sprinted down the pitch with Campbell and Bruce Steadman in support. Adams drew the defence and clever thinking by Steadman to move to Adams’ outside to receive the offload allowed him to sprint to the corner.
Brooks again praised Foster’s solid kicking, and the breaks made by Claughton and Piotrowski.
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