Hastings & Bexhill beat Lewes to move off bottom of table

Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club's pack dominates the midfield against Lewes. Picture courtesy Peter Knight
Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club's pack dominates the midfield against Lewes. Picture courtesy Peter Knight

At last; an away win! Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club overcame Lewes 26-10 to move off the bottom of London Three South East.

Everything came together for H&B on Saturday afternoon. The squad was all fit and available, the conditions suited the style of play and the result was an emphatic bonus point victory.

H&B are now a point above Park House (having played an extra match), and one behind Lewes and three adrift of Bromley in a closely-bunched lower part of the table.

See also: * Hastings & Bexhill narrowly beaten by high-flying visitors
* Hastings United fightback undone by last gasp penalty
* Bexhill United pegged back in third versus fourth clash

From the kick-off H&B were in control. With the forwards were pressing the Lewes defence, winger Tim Sills made two promising breaks.

The second resulted in a scrum, at which the H&B pack overcame the opposition and Isaac Wales gathered the ball at the back before touching down to score a well-worked forwards’ try. Tom Waring’s successful conversion gave the visitors an early seven-point lead.

H&B were working well for each other, making great tackles in defence and setting up attacking chances. Full-back Waring scored under the posts and kicked the ensuing conversion to increase the lead to 14 points.

Lewes reduced their deficit with a try in the left corner, but H&B hit back with another good try. Frazer McManus charged down an attempted clearance kick, Sills picked up the loose ball and charged over the whitewash from 20 metres out to set up a 19-5 lead at half time.

Roger Roberts, who had made a very hard-working contribution to the forwards’ dominance of the Lewes pack, was replaced by Calvin Crosby-Clarke.

Connor Shaw, who is recovering from injury, came on for Stash Maltby at scrum-half, while Steve McManus rotated with Tom Vincent at prop and the H&B forwards continued to dominate.

An unfortunate injury to one of the Lewes players caused the game to be transferred to an adjacent pitch; but his did not affect the outcome.

A very young H&B XV dominated the last half-hour. Waring made a great kick for position and from the ensuing lineout, Sills was set free to score his second try of the day. Waring converted to give a 26-5 lead. Lewes scored a consolation try in the dying seconds.

The fixture was a league and cup double header so as well as gaining precious league points, H&B also move into the second round of the Sussex Shield.

This coming weekend is set aside for cup matches so H&B have no fixture. They will return to action on Saturday January 26 at home to league leaders Crowborough in a 2pm kick-off at Ark William Parker Academy. If this form can be continued, maybe an upset is on the cards.