Hastings & Bexhill denied draw after dramatic finale

Hastings & Bexhill trio Roger Roberts, Josh Jones and Dan Suggitt combine to halt a Vigo attack. Picture courtesy Peter Knight
Hastings & Bexhill trio Roger Roberts, Josh Jones and Dan Suggitt combine to halt a Vigo attack. Picture courtesy Peter Knight

Another game Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club could have won ended in an 8-5 defeat away to Vigo on Saturday.

The whole team performed really well and put in a sterling performance, but in the end were edged out by second-placed opposition in London Three South East.

H&B remain bottom of the table - one point behind Lewes and two adrift of Park House - with five matches remaining.

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Vigo are a good side, but H&B pushed them to their limits and but for the thickness of the post, would have come away with a well-deserved draw.

Injury and unavailability once again pushed coach Ben Davies into changes in the starting line-up. Second XV hooker Josh Clarke made his senior debut with a strong game, while Stash Maltby returned at full-back and put in a man of the match performance.

Davies was forced to include himself and club stalwart Rob McManus on the replacements’ bench alongside Nick Van Herpen.

H&B dominated the first half with at least 60% of the possession and were camped in the home side’s half of the pitch. This dominance wasn’t turned into points, however, despite good attacks coming from Wales, Tim Sills and Dominic Sewell.

Whenever Vigo threatened the H&B line, Maltby was on hand with some crunching tackles to prevent them scoring. The first half finished with neither side troubling the scoreboard operators.

H&B continued in the same manner during the second period and eventually took a well-deserved lead.

Fly-half Bruce Steadman gathered the ball 20 metres out and burst through the Vigo defence to score a great try. On another day he would have probably succeeded with the conversion, but the kicking gods were not with him on the day.

H&B continued to dominate a good side and showed great determination in defence, with terrific tackles from Roger Roberts and Frazer McManus. Dan Suggitt and Maltby cleared their lines with several good long kicks from hand.

Vigo equalised after 65 minutes with a try in the corner. A crossfield kick was collected by the winger, who crossed the whitewash to score an unconverted try.

The hosts then took the lead with a penalty, awarded for offside, in front of the posts.

H&B hit back time after time, but could not turn pressure into points. They were given the chance to snatch a draw in the very last minute, but Steadman’s penalty kick hit the woodwork.

A disappointing result, but a fantastic performance, which if it can be reproduced in the home fixture against Pulborough this coming Saturday, will hopefully lead to a much-needed win. Kick-off at Ark William Parker Academy is 2.30pm.