Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club went marching on at the top of Kent One with a 26-0 home victory on Saturday.
A late score gave H&B the four-try bonus point and another resolute defensive display froze visiting Brockleians out completely on a cold afternoon at Ark William Parker Academy.
H&B head coach Chris Brooks said: “It was comfortable-ish, but we did make hard work of it.
“We need to work on looking after our own ball at the breakdown and at the rucks because we did get turned over a couple of times and although our defence was as robust as ever, we probably could’ve been a bit more clever on offence.
“We did squander a few chances and we had to work hard for the bonus point. The guys are well aware that every bonus point we can gather keeps us that far ahead of the game.”
With forwards offloading and backs running, H&B played some good rugby during the first half. And although they butchered a couple of opportunities, two converted tries put them 14-0 up at the break.
Jimmy Adams went over for the opening scoring after a lovely dummy and flying full-back Harry Walker got the second. Bruce Steadman converted them both.
With the likes of Tom Waring and Chris Stern on a very strong replacements’ bench, H&B were optimistic of pulling further clear during the second period.
It wasn’t long before a good break led to Jake Stinson finishing nicely for the third try, but H&B then became pinned in their own half after getting on the wrong side of the referee and being penalised a lot at the breakdown.
Although frustration was setting in and H&B’s rucking wasn’t quite as sharp as it has been, their defence was very good. For all their possession and determination, Brockleians didn’t really look like scoring.
There would’ve been a touch of disappointment in the H&B ranks had they not scored a fourth try, but at last it arrived in the final minute when Mark Piotrowski scored from the base of the scrum.
* HASTINGS & Bexhill’s second team extended its lead at the top of Sussex Division Three with a crushing 57-0 win at home to Plumpton.
Ben Petty scored four tries, including a first half hat-trick, Chris Pillow crossed the line twice, and there was a try each for Tucker White, Joel Pepper and Ben Campbell as H&B made it eight home league victories out of eight.
Tom Foster kicked four conversions, and Pillow and Ryan Foord shared the other two. Man of the match went to Nicholas Van Herpen.
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