Hastings & Bexhill lost their unbeaten home record with a 7-0 defeat to Dartfordians at a rain-soaked William Parker Sports College on Saturday.
The result swung on a single converted try early in the second half from a loose H&B clearance kick followed by missed tackles. But Darts looked the more likely to score all game.
It was a hard-fought, strong-paced game, both sides defending bravely, allowing for a few missed tackles due to treacherous underfoot conditions.
Considering the wet and windy conditions, both sides threw and caught admirably in the lineout, but that was the only area of play that came close to precision. Possession was rarely kept for long by either side, the conditions making ball control supremely difficult.
In the second half H&B had slightly the better of the game, but not nearly to the extent that Darts dominated the first 40 minutes. And it was still Darts who mounted more promising attacks, creating several opportunities, mostly well defended.
Worth a mention, though, were promising performances from youngsters Calvin Crosby-Clarke and Jacob McDonough - and a committed swansong by Kiwi Guy Ralston, off on his travels once more after a brief liaison with H&B.
Elsewhere, Rye lost 22-10 away to Haywards Heath seconds in Sussex One. Chris Cordeux scored Rye’s first try, but then went off injured along with Pete Brown which meant Rye finished the match with 14 players. Chris Challinor scored their second try in near darkness.