Rugby club targets promotion challenge

Jimmy Adams rises highest at a lineout during H&B's win over HSBC
Jimmy Adams rises highest at a lineout during H&B's win over HSBC

Hastings & Bexhill expect to be challenging for promotion next season.

The rugby club ended its first Kent One campaign in fifth position after a 53-12 final day victory at home to HSBC last weekend.

Head coach Kevin Smith said: “I suspect next season, if we keep going the way we’re progressing, we will be challenging for promotion. We know we’ve got a little way to go, but the foundations are in place.

“If we can improve the players we’ve got and maybe get one or two more players in, a little bit more dedication, commitment and consistency, I suspect we will be challenging. But we’ve got to improve on our defence.”

Having finished fifth in Sussex One - which is widely considered to be a good deal weaker than Kent One - last term, H&B began the 2011/12 campaign in inconsistent fashion with four wins and five defeats in their first nine games.

But from mid-November onwards they’ve stepped up a gear, winning 10 of their last 13 matches to finish only six points outside the top three. H&B also clinched the Sussex Shield for the first time since 2004.

“It was a good season really,” continued Smith, who is looking forward to working with new forwards’ coach Chris Brooks next term. “I’m quite pleased and I think everybody’s pleased. I’ve enjoyed the season and I’ve had a lot of support from a lot of people.”