Hastings & Bexhill were more disappointed at the end of a hammer-and-tongs clash away to Cranbrook on Saturday than at any other result this season.
They felt they could and should have won the Kent One clash - and trailing 6-5 in the final quarter, with the only try of the game, believed they were going to snatch victory right up to the moment Cranbrook kicked a third penalty on the final whistle to triumph 9-5.
While Cranbrook enjoyed a territorial edge in the first half, H&B drastically reduced their hosts’ attacking options. Despite an exchange of penalty kicks, the first quarter stayed scoreless. Cranbrook finally converted a penalty under the posts for a 3-0 lead.
Despite another missed penalty by Cranbrook in the second half, impetus was now with the visitors. Both sides mounted attacks, but H&B were producing the try-threatening moves.
The impasse ended with a break by Kit Claughton, precision interplay with his brother Piers, a strong carry by Tom Spatchurst, then quick hands for Ben Campbell, pictured, to dive over for a 3-5 lead.
Cranbrook’s pressure paid off to retake the lead at 6-5 and they sealed victory with a penalty kick at the death, H&B earning a losing bonus point.
Elsewhere, Rye RFC lost 35-15 at home to Holbrook to remain third-from-bottom in Sussex One. Full reports on both matches will appear in Friday’s Observers.