Hastings & Bexhill’s Sussex Shield triumph was a reward for their hard work and improvement over the season.
That was the verdict of head coach Kevin Smith after the rugby club won a county knockout competition for the first time since 2004 with a hard-fought 31-17 victory over Holbrook at Horsham RFC on Sunday.
Smith said: “It was a fantastic day for the club and well deserved. Everybody should be proud of it. I think it was a fair result. I think we just had a little bit more than they did.
“Basically they’re the same squad as last year, but they’ve got an added belief and confidence. They’re not frightened of expressing themselves and that’s something we’ve tried to get into them.
“Sometimes you have to win ugly, but we’re trying to play some expansive rugby when the conditions allow and play an entertaining game of rugby. They’ve bought into it and believe in it.”
H&B won three matches on Sundays to clinch their first piece of silverware since the Sussex One triumph in 2007, the first two of them having played Kent One games on the preceding Saturdays.
“It just shows what hard work can achieve,” Smith continued. “Since July last year we’ve been banging on about you work hard, get a little bit of luck and you’re technically proficient, you can come out of these games and win.”
Smith insists, however, that the season is not over yet. H&B still have three Kent One fixtures to play, starting with their final away game against bottom-of-the-table New Ash Green tomorrow (Saturday).