Hastings & Bexhill’s final game of the season ended in victory, despite being played in inhospitable conditions and having a man dismissed.
The 30-17 win away to Old Gravesendians on Saturday means H&B end the campaign in third place in Kent One, with runners-up Beccehamian going into a promotion play-off against an Eastbourne side which came second in Sussex One.
After an even start against Old Gravesendians, H&B finally controlled the ball long enough to reach the red zone when a quick penalty saw Ben Davies score and Ash Diedericks convert for a 7-0 lead.
Disaster then struck when H&B’s French prop Alex Vedeux was red-carded for retaliation. From the resulting penalty, OG’s levelled the scores. OG’s took the lead early in the second half, but moments later an H&B attack and quick penalty saw Tom Waring scyth through defenders to equalise again.
Diedericks then kicked two penalties, before OG’s closed the gap with a breakout try to make it 17-18. H&B’s seven-man scrum won good ball, Steve McManus driven over for try, converted by Diedericks before Davies dived over for the bonus point fourth try following a lineout.
H&B: Vedeux (McDonough), Davies, S. McManus, R. McManus, Adams (c), Foord-Paton, A. Waring (Edmunds), Piotrowski, P. Claughton, K. Claughton, Parry, Diedericks, Campbell, Crosby-Clarke (Steadman), T Waring.
Rye Rugby Club, meanwhile, ended their Sussex Shield campaign in disappointing fashion, going down 54-10 away to Brighton II. On their first return to the ground where they beat H&B in the Sussex Shield final last month, Rye struggled and slumped to 30-0 deficit at half time.
An improved display saw Ben Short and Alex Satterfield score tries after the break, but the home side responded with three of their own. Defeat means Rye finish a slightly disappointing sixth, if only because third looked on the cards just two weeks ago.
Rye: D. Smith, Stonham, Satterfield, Piper, Wells, Brown, Edmunds, H. Short, Harvey, T. Nunn, Fitzgerald, Cooke, S. Short, Finn, Moore, Hassell, Martin, Catherlin.