H&B vote in favour of move

H&B may no longer be playing against the likes of Pulborough from next season
H&B may no longer be playing against the likes of Pulborough from next season

Hastings & Bexhill could be playing their rugby in Kent One next season rather than Sussex One.

Club members have voted in favour of the first team switching counties and the one remaining hurdle is the London League - which Sussex One and Kent One are part of - agreeing the move.

H&B chairman David Hirst, who hopes to have some indication of whether it will happen by the middle of next week, said: “Kent are keen for us to go and Sussex aren’t happy about it, but are resigning themselves that we are going to go.”

During H&B’s three seasons in London Three South East, the Sussex RFU took the decision to allow non-first XVs to play in Sussex One in the hope of increasing the strength in depth of the division.

H&B have always opposed the decision and as the current season has unfolded, their concerns have become reality with a degree of imbalance created by some inconsistent team selection

Since January the club has engaged in discussions with the Sussex RFU and Kent RFU about the possibility of crossing borders.

With the committee in agreement to the move, a Special General Meeting was held last Thursday night and 77 per cent of voters gave it the green light.

“It’s the right decision and ultimately it will enable us to go back to London in a more sustainable way,” added Hirst, who doesn’t think the move will create extra travelling. “I think the quicker route to London will be Sussex, but we won’t necessarily be as well prepared for London as we would be through going the Kent route.”

Should the switch go ahead, it would only affect the first team. H&B would remain a Sussex club, and the second team and youth sides would remain in Sussex competitions. The third team currently plays in Mid Kent & East Sussex League C.

But it could all be irrelevant if H&B finish second in Sussex One this term and win the subsequent promotion play-off against the runners-up in Kent One. H&B’s final league fixture is at home to Burgess Hill next Saturday (April 9).