Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club was denied a first home win of the season by a last gasp try on Saturday.
Despite the disappointment of conceding right at the death, the subsequent missed conversion did at least mean H&B avoided a third straight defeat as they drew 10-10 at home to Folkestone.
A strong, gusting wind played a major part in the London Three South East game. H&B kicked-off into the wind and proceeded to dominate the early exchanges.
They were awarded a kickable penalty within a couple of minutes, but the gusting wind pushed the ball just wide of the posts. Despite H&B’s dominance at the breakdown, they were unable to convert the pressure into points.
Folkestone began to use the wind to their advantage with long kicks. Good, well-organised defence by H&B kept the visitors at bay and they never really looked like scoring.
Chas Ackerley went off with strained knee ligaments which meant fly-half Bruce Steadman moved to his more familiar position on the wing and Alex Nichols took over at number 10.
At half time head coach Kevin Smith put on the experienced Steve McManus to steady the pack and H&B had the advantage of playing with the wind at their backs after the restart.
Nichols showed his ability at fly-half which put Folkestone under pressure as they were unable to use the wind to kick out of defence. H&B also worked well as a unit, not allowing the opposition to run out of defence.
H&B’s first try came when a kick out by Folkestone was collected by Tom Waring. The full-back went off on one of his mazy runs and offloaded to Tim Sills, who stepped the last line of defence to score out wide on the left. The conversion was pushed just wide by a gust of wind.
The second try was much the same as the first. Although Waring was tackled following a run from deep, the forwards were quickly up in support and intelligent use of the ball allowed Dan Haddock to score his maiden try for the first XV. Once again the conversion was missed.
Both teams had played a well-structured and contained game, but tiredness and loss of focus by H&B allowed Folkestone back into the match. The visitors scored their first of two tries from a well-worked move, once again not converted.
A missed H&B penalty from in front of the posts seemed to reinvigorate Folkestone, who spent the rest of the game camped in H&B’s half. Only resolute defence kept them out until Folkestone scored their second try in the nick of time.
This was a game H&B could have won with slightly more focus, although the result was a fair one for both sides.
H&B: Roche, Ford-Patton, McDonough, Adams, Sewell, Holewell, Stern, Hanagarth, Campbell, Steadman, Crosby-Clarke, Haddock, Sills, Ackerley, Waring. Subs (all used): Nichols, McManus, James.