H&B edged out in top-of-the-table clash
Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club suffered its first league defeat of the season by a solitary point against one of its title rivals.
H&B came agonisingly close to a 10th Kent One win out of 10, but a last gasp long range penalty was narrowly off target and they had to make do with a losing bonus point from a 13-12 defeat away to Old Williamsonians on Saturday.
This game was always going to be difficult. Williamsonians beat H&B home and away last season, and fielded a big, strong and very vocal team which is unbeaten at home this season.
The opening quarter-of-an-hour was very hard-fought and play was even, but it was the visitors who drew first blood.
Harry Walker gathered the ball inside his own half and made a fantastic surging break. As he approached the home defence, he drew his man and made an excellent pass to put winger Ben Campbell in for his first try of the day. Bruce Steadman converted to give H&B a 7-0 lead.
The Williamsonians pack was playing well, though, and its continuous pressure on the visitors' defence resulted in a try on the wing, which was excellently converted to make it 7-7 at half time.
The second half continued in much the same vein, with neither side in the ascendancy, although there were some crunching tackles from both.
Williamsonians took a 10-7 lead with a penalty awarded for handling the ball on the ground, but H&B came back with a second try from Campbell. The winger was fed the ball from a good backs' move and raced through the gap to score in the corner, giving H&B a 12-10 advantage.
After Jacob McDonagh replaced Tom Vincent at prop, the referee made a harsh decision to award Williamsonians a penalty in front of the posts for offside. The subsequent kick put them ahead for the second time at 13-12.
With only seconds to go, H&B were awarded a penalty more than 40 metres out. Tom Waring made a great attempt, but the ball passed narrowly wide of the posts.
See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!