Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club’s first away fixture of the season finished in a hard-fought draw.
H&B contested a 14-14 stalemate at Folkestone on Saturday to remain unbeaten and top of London Three South East.
Both teams played with enthusiasm and great skill, but neither could gain the upper hand and the draw was a fair result after an even contest.
H&B took an early lead with an excellent try from Tim Sills. Second row powerhouse Jimmy Adams won the ball in a ruck and broke through the Folkestone defence, putting the winger away to touch down under the posts. Bruce Steadman kicked a straightforward conversion.
The home team cranked up the pressure and put H&B’s pack under great stress. Eventually they broke through and scored an unconverted try in the left-hand corner.
With neither side able to dominate, H&B held a narrow 7-5 half time lead.
Folkestone took an 8-7 advantage, however, with a penalty awarded for offside half-an-hour from time.
Their advantage was short-lived. Jake Stinson received the ball as part of a well-worked backs’ move and put centre Tom Waring away for another excellent try. Steadman converted to make the score 14-8.
Jacob McDonough replaced Tony Roche in the front row, Adam Baker came on for Chaz Ackerley in the centres and Frazer McManus made way for Dan Suggitt. Jack James later left the field in a rather groggy state and McManus was recalled to the fray.
Robin Brereton had an impressive game at hooker, while the ever-reliable trio of Mark Piotrowski, Adams and John Hanagarth never ceased in their efforts to hold Folkestone at bay.
Unfortunately, though, pressurised defending often leads to minor infringements and the hosts capitalised on two penalty kicks to claw their way back on level terms.