Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club is celebrating promotion following an excellent away victory yesterday (Saturday).
Kent One runners-up H&B won 41-22 in a promotion play-off at Crawley - who finished second in Sussex One - to book their place in London Three South East for next season.
H&B got off to a good start with a penalty try following a scrum which was converted by Tom Waring for a 7-0 lead. Crawley responded almost immediately, however, with a converted try of their own and another converted score - when the hosts rumbled over following a penalty on H&B’s five-metre line - put them 14-7 up.
The visitors restored parity again through a forwards’ try scored by Anthony Roche and another Waring conversion. They then opened up a 19-14 half time advantage when Steve McManus punched a big hole in the Crawley defence and the offload allowed Bruce Steadman to score in the corner.
H&B went down to 13 men for a while early in the second half after yellow cards for Calvin Crosby-Clarke and Piers Claughton, but they restricted their opponents to just a penalty before kicking a penalty of their own while back up to 14 players.
After H&B returned to the full compliment of 15, Crawley’s number eight was sin-binned and Roche powered over for his second try to make it 27-17. Waring then put H&B virtually out of sight with one of his trademark mazy runs for another converted try, 34-17.
Crawley reduced their arrears by five points with a try in the corner after a good backs’ move, but H&B fittingly had the last word when a scrum on the five-metre line got palmed out for Eliot Parry to run in under the posts, completing their second victory away to Crawley this season.