Hastings and Bexhill RFC cruise to victory at Cliffe Crusaders
Hastings and Bexhill took an early lead and then withstood a great deal of pressure from league newcomers Cliffe Crusaders before finishing this game with a flourish of three late tries.
As the teams lined up for the one minutes silence to remember those killed in war the Crusaders looked to be a team of big strong men.
Coach Ben Davies welcomed Nick Van-Herpen and Calvin Crosby-Clarke back into his squad and gave new signing Ronnie Dorey-Palmer a start on the wing. Sam Surridge and Tom Jones filled the vital 9-10 partnership satisfactorily to give the attack a solid base.
Tom Waring gave the visitors an early lead with a well struck penalty, awarded for offside. Hastings had put the home side under pressure from the kick off and the three points were a just reward.
Winger Tim Sills touched down to complete an excellent cross field move through the backs after Surridge had made a good break from the base of the scrum.
At half time H&B were in a well deserved eight nil lead. The home side had made them work very hard. Crosby-Clarke came on for Van-Herpen and Steve McManus replaced Tom Vincent; who had suffered a knock to his knee, at prop.
Cliffe reduced the lead with a penalty; they were beginning to wear the H&B defence down, but the best form of defence is to attack and Hastings hit them with three well taken tries to seal the bonus point win.
The first came from Archie Ridpath who capitalised on a tremendous break from Crosby-Clarke who was playing an inspiring game in the second row.
Jones was swapped for Louis Sealy at fly half but this did not obstruct the flow of the game. Centre Waring took advantage of a gap in the Cliffe defence to surge through and score under the posts. Surridge added the extras with the straight forward conversion.
Crosby-Clarke crowned a great performance with the bonus point try; he burst off the side of a ruck to leave the home defence standing. Waring converted to leave H&B the clear winners 27-3.
Next week H&B entertain sponsors and friends of the club to lunch before the home league game against HSBC RFC. The 2nd XV also play at home versus Faversham RFC. Both games kick off at 2:30pm, Ark Alexandra Academy ( William Parker Site) and spectators are welcome.