Hastings & Bexhill RFC well beaten in Bob Rogers Cup

Andy Saunders and Louis Sealy combine to stop a H&W attack. Picture by Peter Knight
Andy Saunders and Louis Sealy combine to stop a H&W attack. Picture by Peter Knight

Unfortunately the weekend of cup upsets did not reach the Ark Alexandra Academy field on Saturday.

H&B were beaten by a well organised side from the higher division, in the opening round of the Bob Rogers Sussex Cup. Last year in the same fixture Hastings overcame Heathfield and eventually went on to the final, versus Horsham at East Grinstead.

Coach Ben Davies fielded a strong squad; with the return of Adam Parkhouse and Dan Suggitt to the starting XV, and the experienced Steve McManus on the substitutes bench. Archie Ridpath moved from the centre to wing forward and played well.

From the kick off Heathfield put the home defence under pressure and scored a try out on the wing. They increased their lead with a well practised backs move to score another try on the opposite side of the pitch.

H&B hit back with a good penalty kick from skipper Bruce Steadman; but from the restart the visitors hit them with another try from their classy backs. Everything Heathfield did was that little bit faster than Hastings, they did the simple things well. H&W scored their fourth try to make the half time score 3-20.

The second half started well for H&B, winger Tim Sills made two exciting breaks; stand off Louis Sealy was managing the backs well and the away defence was under some pressure. These attacks culminated in another penalty for Steadman to convert. Throughout the second half the game was more evenly balanced and Hastings were unlucky not to score more points. The replacements were all used and the squad rotated well giving vital players some respite. Andy Saunders played well in his second senior game of the season, Steve McManus steadied the front row when he came on, Calvin Crosby-Clarke was as solid as ever and Ronnie Dorey-Palmer played well on the wing.

Heathfield scored their fifth try almost on the final whistle to run out worthy 6-25 winners. Next week H&B return to Kent League duty with a home fixture against New Ash Green RFC and a 2 o'clock kick off.