Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club was narrowly beaten in its final home game of the season on Saturday.
Both teams scored three tries, but two conversions and a penalty proved the difference as H&B lost out 22-15 to HSBC in Kent One.
Maybe we could’ve got a draw, but they probably looked a little bit more in control of the game than we did.Kit Claughton
H&B backs’ coach Kit Claughton said: “Maybe we could’ve got a draw, but they probably looked a little bit more in control of the game than we did. We defended very well and there were parts of the game that were very good.
“There was no lack of effort and we made a lot of line breaks, but players were just a little bit isolated, the final pass didn’t quite stick and possibly we took some wrong decisions in the final part of the pitch.”
In a game where the sides were pretty evenly matched, HSBC scored first with a nice backs’ move where they brought their full-back into the line.
H&B hit back when John Hanagarth made a break and Paul Sandeman fed Tim Sills, who went over for the try. HSBC scored again, however, from a driving maul to put them 12-7 up at half time.
The first score after the break was always likely to be crucial and it was HSBC who got it. The visitors returned a kick very effectively and drove over after a passage of play in H&B’s 22, extending their lead to 19-7.
That left H&B with it all to do, but they fed Hanagarth down the middle of a lineout and he went over to get the hosts back within a converted try at 19-12.
Although H&B conceded a fairly soft penalty straight from the restart to fall 22-12 adrift, Sandeman went over in the corner to raise hopes of salvaging a draw.
Eliot Parry and Sandeman made breaks, and Hanagarth looked dangerous, but once H&B got into HSBC’s 22 they tended to turn over the ball or rush things and didn’t really look like scoring the try they needed.
H&B were missing influential players Steve McManus, Mark Piotrowski and Sam Haslam, but Jake Begg did a good job in the back row, as did Sandeman on his return to the side.
Alex Nichols made an impact off the bench, Harry Walker had a fantastic game at full-back, captain Jimmy Adams led from the front, and Hanagarth carried the ball very effectively and made some big hits.
“It was a very good game,” added H&B head coach Chris Brooks. “We had key people missing, but others stepped into the breach again and put up a good performance.
“I think we were the fitter side on the park. They had some very big crash ball centres who took a lot of tackling, but we defended very well. It wasn’t a disrespectful result, but it just wasn’t the win I wanted.”
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