Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club went top of the embryonic Kent One table after making it two wins out of two with an 18-0 victory at home to King’s College Hospital on Saturday.
The final score didn’t reflect just how close most of this game had been, but it demonstrated H&B’s growing ability to wrench victory from an average performance.
Man-for-man H&B were some way the better side, but due to some resolute defending from their opponents, they were only able to replicate the fluency and teamwork shown on the training ground in the closing stages.
A Tom Waring penalty - well-taken in the gusting wind - gave H&B the smallest of leads, which KCH failed to erase when their penalty kick hit the posts minutes later.
With H&B camped on the visitors’ line and half time looming, Aidy Mahoney was sin-binned for a tackle. When Ben Davies followed him after the restart, H&B were reduced to 13 men. As so often, adversity proved a spur, H&B stole their opponents’ lineout and won a penalty, converted by Waring, 6-0.
Attacking virtue was rewarded further when an artful pop from Kit Claughton to Tom Waring produced one of the full-back’s powerfully mazy runs, turning defenders to pillars of salt in his wake, culminating in an inelegant dying-swan dive, 11-0.
The game was decided when Mahoney managed to shrug off KCH’s back row and thundered for the line like an enraged buffalo, the supporting Matt Harbord finishing off with a try, converted by Waring for a victory that looked more emphatic on the scoreboard than it felt on the pitch.
Rye Rugby Club recorded their first win of the Sussex One season with a 25-21 success at Seaford. The visitors bounced back from their opening day defeat at Crowborough II to record several tries on their way to victory, as well as a bonus point.
Senior player Gary Edmunds was arguably the star man for the New Roaders, scoring two tries in an impressive win. Rye play their first home game of the campaign this Saturday against Eastbourne. See Friday’s Observers for full reports and reaction to both games.