The hangover from the previous weekend’s draining two match heroics was evident on Saturday as H&B produced their least impressive performance this season to lose 20-5 at Sittingbourne.
Although Sittingbourne’s powerful pack and relentlessly dogged defence put them in the driving seat for the first 20 minutes of each half, and H&B’s fast-developing backline had to live off scraps, the visitors made plenty of opportunities for themselves in the second and last quarters.
But again and again H&B’s poor handling and running lines, and lack of effective commitment at the breakdown - coupled with their hosts’ defensive determination - let Sittingbourne off the hook whenever their line was under threat.
A whistle-happy referee helped spoil an untidy game - but H&B didn’t need much outside help. Trailing by an unconverted try at half time, they had only a well-taken debut try by Buckswood schoolboy Calvin Crosby-Clarke to show for all their pressure in the last 20 minutes of the game - and even then, they immediately succumbed to a breakaway individual try against the run of play.
“We took a big step backwards from the standards we’ve been setting ourselves,” said backs coach Kit Claughton. “We’re not good enough not to train, then turn up to good teams and expect to chuck the ball around and win.”
H&B: Spatchurst, Umpleby, Roche, Luff, Piotrowski, Sandeman, S. McManus, Holewell (Roberts), Fitzgerald, K. Claughton, Harbord, Campbell, Newell, Waring, Steadman (Crosby-Clarke).
A full report will appear in Friday’s Hastings and Bexhill Observers.
Kent One standings (played-points): 1 Gillingham Anchorians 8-37, 2 Vigo 8-32, 3 Dartfordians 8-32, 4 Sittingbourne 7-22, 5 Shooters Hill 7-22, 6 Guys’ Kings’ & St Thomas’ Hospital 8-17, 7 Old Gravesendians 7-15, 8 HASTINGS & BEXHILL 7-15, 9 Whitstable 7-15, 10 HSBC 8-12, 11 Cranbrook 7-11, 12 New Ash Green 7-2, 13 Beccehamian 7-1.