Hastings & Bexhill too strong for Crawley

Hastings & Bexhill prop Steve McManus is tackled by two Crawley opponents. Pictures by Justin Lycett
Hastings & Bexhill prop Steve McManus is tackled by two Crawley opponents. Pictures by Justin Lycett

Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club recorded a convincing bonus point victory at home to bottom-of-the-table opposition on Saturday.

H&B scored six tries without reply en route to a much-needed 37-0 win against Crawley in London Three South East, moving up a place to seventh in the process.

H&B scrum-half Eliot Parry prepares to spread the play.

H&B scrum-half Eliot Parry prepares to spread the play.

In cold but dry conditions, Crawley were much-improved from September’s reverse fixture. They tackled well and continuously disrupted the game, not allowing H&B to develop their fast and expansive game.

The opening exchanges were evenly-fought. Crawley put the home defence under pressure, but were unable to break through as Stash Maltby, Chaz Ackerley and Tom Waring put in some excellent tackles to defend their line.

Calvin Crosby-Clarke opened the scoring with a good finish from a hard-working forwards’ move.

The home pack dominated lineouts, was powerful in the loose and matched a big set of Crawley forwards in the scrum.

H&B on the attack during their convincing victory at Ark William Parker Academy.

H&B on the attack during their convincing victory at Ark William Parker Academy.

This forward domination set up an excellent backs’ move for the second try. Flying winger Tim Sills surged through the Crawley defensive line and put Ackerley into space. He passed to scrum-half Eliot Parry, who scored under the posts.

Bruce Steadman converted with ease and then increased his tally with a well-taken penalty to give the home side a 15-0 lead at half time.

The second half continued in much the same vein; H&B worked hard, Crawley disrupted the flow of the game and frustrated the home side’s plans.

H&B coach Chris Brooks used his bench well, bringing on the fit-again Chris Stern in place of the hard-working Jack James, Ben Campbell for Maltby and Mark Piotrowski for Frazer McManus.

Their collective impact on the game was the telling feature of the final quarter and enabled the H&B line to hold fast despite the yellow carding of Parry for retaliating to the constant interference by the Crawley wing forwards.

Good work from H&B’s pack set up full-back Waring for a well-taken try. The bonus point fourth try came from brilliant linking between Waring and Sills to put the winger away for his only score of the day.

By now H&B were on top and in control of the game. The forwards had the visitors’ defence under continuous pressure and Piotrowski took full advantage, scoring two very good tries, one converted, to seal a whole squad victory against tough opposition.

Keeping the Crawley score to nil is proof of the hard work put in during the midweek training and coaching sessions.

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)