Hastings & Bexhill secure vital victory in survival quest

Hastings & Bexhill recycle the ball during their 15-5 win at home to Pulborough on Saturday. Picture by Simon Newstead
Hastings & Bexhill recycle the ball during their 15-5 win at home to Pulborough on Saturday. Picture by Simon Newstead

Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club pulled off a vital victory in its bid to beat the drop.

A 15-5 win at home to Pulborough on Saturday lifted H&B from rock-bottom to third-from-bottom of London Three South East.

It was a result which reflected the effort and determination H&B have shown throughout the season. H&B overcame a tough Pulborough side with a display of hard, flowing rugby which in the first half alone, could have brought three or four tries for the home team.

See also: * Hastings & Bexhill denied draw after dramatic finale
* Hastings & Bexhill claim higher level scalp to reach cup final
* Hastings & Bexhill edged out by league leaders

Tim Sills opened the scoring after 10 minutes. The H&B pack won the ball at a lineout and the pass to Sills set him free to cut through the visitors’ defence and touch down under the posts.

Tom Waring converted and then kicked a well-struck penalty to put H&B 10-0 up with less than a quarter-of-an-hour played.

The home side dominated possession and territory, but was unable to turn this superiority into points.

An accidental clash of heads towards the end of the first half meant a hasty reorganisation of the H&B pack and Pulborough reduced their deficit to 10-5 at half time with a pushover try.

Nick Van Herpen did not return following the collision and Tom Vincent was obviously stunned, forcing coach Ben Davies to reshape his forwards.

Fit-again Steve McManus came on at prop and Jacob McDonough moved to hooker. Adam Parkhouse sustained a shoulder injury and was replaced by Alex Waring, back after a two-year absence at university.

Once the team settled to their task, the changes did not affect H&B’s dominance of the game and the control they enjoyed eventually led to another score.

The forwards combined well to power the ball over the line. Tom Vincent was credited with the try, but really it was a team effort - a combination of strength and persistence. Waring’s conversion attempt smashed into the upright, but a well-deserved win was in the bag.

Pulborough have had a good season and beat H&B convincingly in October’s reverse fixture, so to overpower them is a real positive result for the effort the team and their coaches have made throughout this league campaign.

H&B have four league matches remaining, all next month. The first of them is at home to Bromley, who are one place above them, on Saturday March 2.