Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club moved up to second in Kent One following only their second away league win of the season on Saturday.
H&B came through a hard-fought game away to HSBC 22-17 to make it three consecutive victories and four wins out of four over the London club since making the switch from Sussex One in summer 2011.
For the first 15 minutes, H&B laid hands on the ball only once and during that time the hosts kicked a penalty for a 3-0 lead. Once they got the ball, though, confident handling and intelligent support gave H&B the edge.
Jimmy Adams powered over for a try converted by Sandeman and a 3-7 lead. HSBC closed the gap with a penalty under the posts, but Kit Claughton caught the restart and Steve McManus’s bullocking run ending with a well-timed pass to Piers Claughton, stepping the defence for a try converted by Sandeman, 6-14.
HSBC ran the ball from the restart, converting a difficult penalty, 9-14. Another HSBC penalty brought the half time score to 12-14. A Sandeman penalty stretched the lead to 12-17, and Tom Waring’s determined chase of his own kick and unconverted touchdown took H&B to a 12-22 lead.
HSBC’s perfectly judged crossfield kick for their powerful left wing to catch and touch down brought them to within five points at 17-22, but H&B held on for a combative but deserved win.
Rye RFC, meanwhile, consolidated third place in Sussex One after receiving a walkover at home to fourth-placed Chichester thirds. It was the second time a visiting team had failed to fulfil a fixture at New Road in just a few weeks.
Cinque Ports scraped home 20-19 against Crowborough thirds in Sussex Two East. Man of the match Chris Eastwood, Simon Baillie and Dale Whittington scored the tries, while Paul Smart kicked a penalty and conversion. See Friday’s Observers for full reports.