Hastings & Bexhill put up a decent fight in county cup final

Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club captain Joe Umpleby receives the Bob Rogers Sussex Cup runners-up trophy from Simon Dixon, south coast area manager of Harvey's Brewery. Picture courtesy Peter Knight
Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club captain Joe Umpleby receives the Bob Rogers Sussex Cup runners-up trophy from Simon Dixon, south coast area manager of Harvey's Brewery. Picture courtesy Peter Knight

Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club finished its season with a county cup final and its annual awards evening/dinner dance on Saturday.

H&B lost 31-3 against higher grade Horsham in their first ever Bob Rogers Sussex Cup final appearance at East Grinstead RFC.

Roger Roberts receives the David Northen Trophy from Roy Wake and Jerry Hohenkerk. Picture courtesy Peter Knight

Roger Roberts receives the David Northen Trophy from Roy Wake and Jerry Hohenkerk. Picture courtesy Peter Knight

As expected, the game was a tough and hard-fought affair against a team which will be playing three divisions above H&B next season.

See also: * Hastings & Bexhill target cup final upset
* Hastings & Bexhill relegated despite valiant effort
* Hollington United aiming to complete cup double
* Hastings United suffer agonising extra-time play-off loss

Three seasons ago Horsham beat H&B by more than 90 points in the same competition, but Saturday’s game was far more evenly equally contested.

Horsham fielded some very big men, but they had a difficult time against an H&B side which although beaten, never gave up. Horsham knew they had been in a battle.

There were many outstanding moments throughout the game. Archie Ridpath, Tom Waring, Tom Vincent and skipper Joe Umpleby contested every ball, made penetrating runs and put in some crunching tackles.

H&B coach Ben Davies used his 22-man squad to great effect. Isaac Wales, Frazer McManus, Stash Maltby and Adam Parkhouse - all players for the future - played their hearts out and have the bruises to show for it!

Later in the day, the club entertained 100 guests for its awards evening and dinner dance in a huge marquee at its Ark William Parker Academy ground.

Members, sponsors and friends of the club enjoyed an excellent celebration with a hog roast from Sublime Catering Ltd and a bar provided by club sponsors Greene King.

The evening culminated with chairman Jerry Hohenkerk hosting the various presentations and awards for players and volunteers who give so much to the club throughout the season.

Roger Roberts received The David Northen Shield from president Roy Wake for his outstanding contribution to the club as a player, captain and coach.

The evening ended with a raffle, for which prizes had been donated by Appleyards Butchers, Bookers Cash and Carry, Trade Paints and Greene King, who gave a shirt autographed by the entire Saracens first team squad. Music, supplied by A Star Mobile Disco, brought a wonderful event to a close.

Although the season has officially ended, the club has a very busy summer ahead, with mini and junior celebrations this weekend, followed by the resurrected old boys’ game and a seven-a-side tournament in July, immediately prior to the start of training for next season.