On a sunny afternoon and in excellent conditions Hastings and Bexhill came from behind to score a hard fought victory against Lewes.
The Hastings squad welcomed back Tom Waring, Frazer McManus and Ryan Foord; with Stash Maltby and Adam Parkhouse making their first senior starts of the season.
The opening exchanges were evenly contested until prop |Steve McManus made a good break from a ruck, he passed the ball inside to Waring who set Chas Ackerely free to score a converted try; giving Hastings a well deserved early lead.
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Lewes came back with two good; but unconverted, tries of their own to take a slender lead. Tim Sills ; playing an excellent game on the wing, initiated a good flowing backs move to put Ben Campbell in for the first of his three tries of the afternoon.
The visitors hit back with two more tries before the interval to give them a half time lead of ten points. H&B and Lewes play in very similar colours; being the home team Hastings had to wear their change strip and in the heat of play on a couple of occasions passes were made to the wrong player!
Ryan Foord had to leave the field with an injury; he was replaced by Waring at full back with Bruce Steadman coming in at fly half. H&B hit back with a good try involving both backs and forwards in excellent play to narrow the gap to three points.
Campbell crossed the line for his second try to give H&B the lead. The open and fast play from Hastings was causing the Lewes defence problems and they were reduced to fourteen men; when their prop was yellow carded for a high tackle. The home side made full use of their man advantage; with Campbell completing his hat trick for an unconverted try. In the dying seconds Sills scored an excellent solo try; under the posts, giving Waring a straight forward conversion kick.
The final score of 38-22; plus the bonus point moved Hastings two places up the league before their journey to top place Crowborough next week end.
Match report by Peter Knight (compiled from notes made by Malcolm Sealby and Ron Yates)