Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club’s first team suffered its first defeat of 2016 on Saturday after conceding a last gasp try.
H&B narrowly lost 15-11 in a keenly-fought Kent One game at Vigo despite holding an eight-point lead with a quarter of the contest remaining.
It was a bright and sunny afternoon, but the previous day’s rain had left a heavy and boggy playing surface.
The opening exchanges were even and some of the hits were very big. H&B winger Ben Petty suffered a nasty cut to the side of his head and while he was receiving treatment the visitors took the lead. Harry Foster kicked a well-struck penalty awarded for not releasing the ball in a ruck.
Vigo’s scrum-half was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on. H&B used their player advantage well and intensive forward play led to Petty, now back on the field, scoring a good team try out wide to increase the lead.
The remainder of the first half was very hard work for both teams, although Vigo scored three points with a penalty awarded for offside.
Tim Sills made a good break on the left wing and gained a lot of ground, but Vigo were able to clear their line at the breakdown and the referee immediately blew for half time with H&B 8-3 ahead.
The second half started in much the same way. Foster added to H&B’s score with another well-taken penalty on a day when the ground conditions made place kicking a difficult task.
H&B head coach Chris Brooks brought on his substitutes after 60 minutes, Alex Waring, Chaz Ackerley and Jacob McDonough replacing Jack James, Ben Campbell and Anthony Roche.
Vigo continued to press the H&B defence and won a penalty. From the resulting move they scored an unconverted try to bring them within three points with a quarter-of-an-hour to play.
The hosts were now in the ascendancy. They built attack after attack and despite some magnificent defensive work by the H&B players, Vigo scored a try in the last seconds.
H&B were defending well and holding their own, but Kit Claughton was yellow carded and from the resulting quickly taken penalty, Vigo scored a converted try to run out winners of a very close game.
Chris Stern was elected man of the match by Vigo having put in a tremendous amount of work in the scrum and made some excellent tackles to frustrate the opposition’s big forwards.
H&B skipper Jimmy Adams and hooker Joe Umpleby also had very good games, and overall it was a good performance.
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