Table-topping H&B make it a perfect 10
Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club chalked up its 10th consecutive league and cup victory on Saturday.
Table-topping H&B made it nine out of nine in Kent One with a 24-10 success at home to New Ash Green.
The drizzle and cold did not make for ideal playing conditions; the surface was greasy and the ball slippery so this game was not the spectacle of excellent victories and displays of flowing rugby that the H&B supporters have become used to this season.
New Ash Green were a big and well-drilled team who fought for every ball and presented many problems for H&B.
The opening exchanges were very even and it was not until Eliot Parry scored an opportunistic try after 15 minutes that H&B took the lead. The winger hacked the ball forward and outran the away defence to score a good try out on the left touchline.
The visitors closed the gap to 5-3 with a penalty awarded for offside only for H&B to strike again. Harry Walker kicked a long penalty to touch and from the ensuing lineout, prop Tom Vincent scored a pushover try at the base of the scrum. Bruce Steadman converted to make it 12-3.
H&B were in control, but the visitors continued to niggle and frustrate their game. From a penalty, one of H&B's well-rehearsed training ground moves gave Tom Waring the ball and he broke through the stout away defence to score under the posts. Steadman again converted to make the half time score 19-3.
During the interval Steve McManus came on for Anthony Roche, who had played very well with some solid scrummaging despite the sore knee which prompted the change.
New Ash Green reduced H&B's lead to 19-10 with a try which was converted by a good long kick from out on the touchline.
Parry was yellow carded for retaliating to the relentless provocation of the visitors' forwards. When he returned, Adam Baker came on for Kit Claughton, with Parry at scrum-half and Steadman moving to number 10.
By now there was no great excitement for the faithful supporters on the touchline and balcony. The New Ash Green number six was sin-binned for dangerous play and H&B took full advantage of their extra man, Mark Piotrowski scoring a good forwards' try to seal the bonus point.
Frazer McManus was replaced by Jack James for the closing minutes as H&B secured a hard-working victory.
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