H&B power to splendid away win

Dan Suggitt scored Hastings & Bexhill's opening try in the victory away to Crawley. Picture courtesy Jon Smalldon

Despite seven squad changes and a late reorganisation because of vehicle problems, Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club secured a bonus point away win on Saturday.

H&B opened up a 21-0 half time lead en route to a 33-12 victory against Crawley in London Three South East on Saturday.

The opening exchanges were evenly fought, but H&B took the lead with a well-constructed try scored by Dan Suggitt. John Hanagarth and Tom Waring linked well with flowing passes to put the centre away for his first senior try. Bruce Steadman converted.

Flying winger Tim Sills and scrum-half Eliot Parry set up the second try with a long run from midfield. Sills touched down under the posts to give Steadman a straightforward conversion.

Debutant teenage winger Sam Surridge impressed the H&B travelling faithful with two exciting breaks and an excellent cover tackle.

H&B continued to dominate and Hanagarth broke off the back of a five-metre scrum to cross the whitewash for Steadman to convert, making it 21-0.

Nick van Herpen, who had played very well at prop, and Hanagarth, who suffered a sore ankle, made way for Tony Roche and Mark Piotrowski.

Their fresh legs gave an extra impetus to the H&B forwards, who continued to dominate the home pack. Calvin Crosby-Clarke received a good pass from Chaz Ackerley 22 metres out and crossed the line despite the attention of three Crawley defenders for the bonus point fourth try. Steadman converted with a well-struck kick.

Crawley scored an opportunist try when their winger intercepted a pass inside his own half and raced away to touch down under the posts, giving their kicker the easiest of conversions.

The try raised the home team’s spirits and Crawley piled the pressure on H&B’s defence. They duly scored their second try from a five-metre scrum.

Van Herpen was recalled to the fray as a replacement for hooker Chris Pillow, who had played very well, and Sills completed the scoring with a magnificent show of strength as he burst through the Crawley defence from 10 metres out to touch down in the corner.

All in all this was an excellent win. The forwards certainly benefited from the return of the fit-again Jimmy Adams, whose lineout play was terrific, and the reorganised backs all gave a good account of themselves.

Standings (played four matches unless stated): 1 Thanet Wanderers 19pts, 2 Bromley (5) 18, 3 HASTINGS & BEXHILL (5) 17, 4 Aylesford Bulls 16, 5 Crowborough 12, 6 Lewes 10, 7 Folkestone 8, 8 Old Dunstonians 7, 9 Old Williamsonians 6, 10 Crawley 5, 11 Sheppey 4, 12 Park House 2.

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