H&B keen to seize title chance in top-of-table clash

Hastings & Bexhill prop Steve McManus in possession during November's reverse fixture against Old Williamsonians. Picture courtesy Nigel Baker
Hastings & Bexhill prop Steve McManus in possession during November's reverse fixture against Old Williamsonians. Picture courtesy Nigel Baker
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Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club has the chance to clinch the Kent One title in a top-of-the-table clash tomorrow (Saturday).

Long-time leaders H&B will secure top spot with two games to spare if they win at home to second-placed Old Williamsonians and score four or more tries in the process.

They will also be crowned champions if they score three tries or fewer, but still win by more than a seven-point margin. Anything less and the battle will continue until at least next weekend.

H&B head coach Chris Brooks said: “The guys are definitely up for it, but we’re very keen not to over-play it as well. I don’t want the guys over-hyped; at the end of the day it’s just another game of rugby.”

H&B are seven points clear at the top having won 18 of their 19 league games so far. Their one defeat came by a single point in November’s reverse fixture against a Williamsonians side which has won 17 and lost just two.

“We want to do it this week, but it’s not the end of the world if we don’t - we’ll still be top of the league, but it will make life difficult and we’ll have to win both our last two games,” added Brooks.

“If we play our game and play it well, we should be okay. But they’re by far and away the next best team in the league and they’ll be wanting to win as well.”

As well as being undefeated at home, H&B have scored more points than any other club in the division and conceded fewer. Both teams have won all of their league matches in 2017.

“They’re a very good side and it should make for a very good afternoon of rugby,” added Brooks, who expects to be without Ben Petty and John Hanagarth through injury.

“They’re strong in all departments. They don’t have the biggest pack in the league, but they have a very effective pack. They’ve got a very good back row and they’ve got a couple of fleet-footed people out wide.

“They’re not that dissimilar to us. They tend to slightly favour route one over us, but not by much. It was a very close game at their place, but both teams have come on since then. We’ve really got to play at our best to ensure that it goes to plan.”

H&B’s second team also has a chance to clinch promotion tomorrow as it hosts BSMS (Medics) in Sussex Division Three. Both fixtures will kick-off at 3pm.

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