H&B return to action with must win clash

Action from Hastings & Bexhill's most recent game, at home to Aylesford Bulls, on February 3. Picture by Simon Newstead
Action from Hastings & Bexhill's most recent game, at home to Aylesford Bulls, on February 3. Picture by Simon Newstead

Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club will return to action tomorrow (Saturday) with a game it sorely needs to win.

After being fixtureless last weekend, H&B will resume their London Three South East campaign by travelling to a second-bottom Sheppey team which has won just once all season and which was hammered 83-14 in October’s reverse fixture.

H&B are now just two points and two places above a Park House side which occupies the third and final London Three South East relegation place.

Head coach Chris Brooks said: “It’s a must win. When you slide towards a precarious position, it’s very easy to get nervous about a game which I shouldn’t be nervous about.

“Although they’re still losing regularly, they’re not losing by a massive amount lately. We need to stamp our authority on the game from the kick-off.”

H&B have lost three of their four games in 2018 and the last two of them have been their heaviest two losses of the season.

The 29-5 reverse against new leaders Aylesford Bulls last time out a fortnight ago was compounded by the two sides immediately below them, Folkestone and Park House, both winning.

H&B will be without Mark Piotrowski, Tom Waring and possibly John Hanagarth on what could be a significant afternoon in the battle to beat the drop as Park House will travel to fourth-bottom Folkestone.

Tomorrow’s match is all the more important for H&B as their following four games are all against top five opposition. After that they will end the season away to Park House.

The club had a special guest coach at its training session on Tuesday night. Sean Everett, from South African heavyweights Natal Sharks, put a large group of players through their paces in foul conditions.

“It’s always good to see the perspective an elite coach has,” said Brooks. “It was probably the best numbers we’ve had on a Tuesday for a long, long time.”

Hastings & Bexhill’s remaining 2017/18 London Three South East fixtures: February 17 Sheppey (a), March 3 Bromley (a), March 10 Old Dunstonians (h), March 24 Thanet Wanderers (a), April 7 Lewes (h), April 14 Park House (a).

Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Observer by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed, we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Observer, simply click here (www.localsubsplus.co.uk)