Hastings & Bexhill maintained their perfect start to the Kent One league season with a comprehensive 53-11 away win over Vigo on Saturday.
And it was not just a high-scoring win, but a supreme team performance full of verve and vision, which wore down their opponents, physically and psychologically.
Despite going behind 6-3 in the first 10 minutes, H&B worked hard to gain dominance over a newly-relegated side that has always given them a tough challenge.
H&B’s lineout was also at its imperious best, securing its own throws and nicking several of Vigo’s; after a shaky start the scrum looked solid, winning several against the head; the backline was full of strong running and aggressively quick in defence, and H&B’s fast handling 15-man game clicked, gradually wearing down their opposition.
Vigo missed a couple of penalties before a big carry by Steve McManus, a mazy break by Bruce Steadman, and intelligent support from Chas Ackerly and Kit Claughton, ended with Tom Waring scoring and converting to edge H&B into the lead.
Waring kicked another penalty, and a textbook lineout catch and drive by H&B reached Vigo’s line - but the visitors reached half time with only a 6-13 lead.
Training ground work started to pay off from the restart when lovely hands by the backline cut the defence apart, Adams finishing off the try, converted by Waring, 6-20.
Great handling by the pack saw Jason Holewell’s final pass put Max Foord-Paton over, converted by Waring, 27-6. A penalty lineout five metres out and an inexorable drive for the line was touched down by Holewell for the bonus point, 6-32.
Moments later Ben Campbell danced through defenders for a 40 metre score under the posts, converted by Waring, 6-39. A series of penalties gave Vigo the field position and impetus they needed for a pushover try, 11-39.
Excellent close-quarters interplay by forwards and backs saw Anthony Roche score, Waring converting, 11-46.
Crosby-Clarke broke down the wing and cruelly had his try disallowed, but Mark Piotrowski battered over from the ensuing lineout, converted by Waring for a 42-point victory.
Rye Rugby Club, meanwhile, lost their first home match in Sussex One 36-14 to Eastbourne.