Hastings & Bexhill out of bottom two after much needed victory over winless Hellingly

Frazer McManus passes the ball out from the scrum during Hastings & Bexhill's victory away to Hellingly. All pictures by Peter Knight.
Frazer McManus passes the ball out from the scrum during Hastings & Bexhill's victory away to Hellingly. All pictures by Peter Knight.

Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club climbed out of the bottom two following a much-needed victory on Saturday.

H&B ended a five-game losing run with a 22-5 win away to bottom-of-the-table and still winless Hellingly in London Three South East.

Hastings & Bexhill pushing for the line during their victory away to Hellingly.

Hastings & Bexhill pushing for the line during their victory away to Hellingly.

On a dull, miserable afternoon, the game matched the conditions. There were many handling mistakes and missed opportunities throughout from both teams.

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H&B fielded a strong side for a game they had to win. Tim Sills was welcomed back on the left wing and Archie Ridpath, a former Heathfield & Waldron junior, made his first XV debut, initially filling the third place on the bench.

The first half was very evenly fought, but full of scrappy play because the conditions did not really allow either team to get into their stride.

Sills eventually powered through the home defence to score a good try in the corner, giving H&B a five-point lead at half-time.

The second half continued in much the same vein and Hellingly equalised with a pushover try from a five-metre lineout.

This was the signal for H&B to up their game and dominate the last quarter of the match. The benefits of training twice per week showed as they ended up convincing winners over a Hellingly team which had worked hard.

H&B coach Ben Davies rotated his players well and made full use of his replacements. Jacob McDonough and Adam Parkhouse made a powerful impact off the bench.

Tom Waring restored H&B’s lead with a well-struck penalty, awarded for a high tackle, even though the slippery surface made place kicking a tricky task.

Sills made another powerful break and passed the ball inside for Calvin Crosby-Clarke to storm over the line from more than 20 metres out. Waring converted with a well-placed kick.

McDonough won the ball in the loose and set Waring into space. He passed out to Ridpath, who crowned an impressive debut with a well-taken try. Waring completed the scoring with another well-taken conversion to give H&B a very well-deserved away win.

H&B are now third-from-bottom of the table and only two points behind fourth-from-bottom Bromley approaching the midway point of their league campaign.

They will entertain second-placed Beccahamian at Ark William Parker Academy tomorrow (Saturday, kick-off 2pm) hoping to build on this good performance.