A depleted Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club team was beaten by higher level opposition in cup action on Saturday.
London Three South East side H&B lost 46-14 at home to Hove, who are second in London Two South East, in round one of the Sussex Bob Rogers Cup.
Fielding a side showing six changes from the previous weekend’s close league defeat to Old Dunstonians, H&B fought manfully throughout the game.
Hove scored four tries, and kicked three conversions and a penalty to open up a 27-point first half lead. The visitors’ impressive number seven made several classy breaks, set up some good moves and produced some excellent covering tackles in defence.
The second half was a lot closer as H&B played with more confidence and put the Hove defence under a great deal of pressure.
Two good forwards’ tries were scored. The first came from Jimmy Adams who, after several phases of attack, picked up and crashed over the Hove line.
Full-back Ryan Foord added the conversion with a good kick, but almost immediately afterwards was forced to leave the pitch severely shaken following a very heavy tackle.
The second try was scored by the fit-again Mark Piotrowski, who prised the Hove defensive line open to cross the whitewash for a well-worked try following good work from the pack.
James Morris, who had an outstanding game at fly-half, converted to bring H&B’s second half points tally to 14.
Hove scored three tries and kicked two conversions during the second half to win by 32 points, but they had been in a tough game.
H&B never gave up and there were several individual performances worthy of note. Dan Suggitt and Stash Maltby made the most of their senior side opportunity and will be names for the future, while the pack worked together and matched the Hove forwards in every part of the game.
H&B head coach Chris Brooks said: “I was very pleased with the performance. We started slowly and they started at full pelt, and we conceded 15 points in the first 10 minutes.
“But the defence started getting a lot tighter, and the young lads Sam Surridge and Stash Maltby played out of their skins.
“I think the final scoreline flattered them slightly in that we matched them up-front, the scrummage honours were pretty even, as were the lineouts. They had a very good repertoire of back row and back line moves, and they were working them against players who were a little less experienced than they were.”