Hastings and Bexhill 26, Faversham 16 

By Peter Knight

Hastings & Bexhill overcame the wind and rain to beat tough opposition last Saturday afternoon in a Kent League fixture. Visitors Faversham, starting with wind advantage on the high slopes of the Ark Alexandra ground, gained a 16-14 halftime lead. But two late tries enabled H&B to claim their first home league win of the season.

Chris Butler (in yellow, number 5) scores final try
PICTURE: Peter Knight

Preventing a strong opposition from scoring in the second half, despite playing for a quarter of the match with only 14 men, will be a particular cause of satisfaction for coach Ben Davies.

H&B’s starting line-up included fit-again Tim Sills on the wing, 2nd XV skipper Tom Jones deputised for still-injured Bruce Steadman at fly half, Dominic Sewell started in the second row, and Alex Waring returned at wing forward.

Faversham took the lead with an early penalty kick which sailed over the bar from more than 40 metres out. Archie Ridpath took H&B into the lead with a try under the posts for Tom Waring to convert. The visitors clawed their way back to within a point with another well-struck penalty. Sewell crashed over the line at the back of a pick-and-drive move to extend the lead; Waring converted in the blustery conditions. Unfortunately Sewell injured his hand scoring the try and had to be replaced by Jake Begg.

Then another penalty and a converted try whilst prop Steve McManus was in the sin bin put the visitors ahead at the turn-around.

Playing with the advantage of the wind but then hampered by the yellow-carding of Joe Umpleby, H&B made hard work of the first 25 minutes of the second half. But eventually flying winger Sills crossed the line to regain the lead; Waring converted; then Hastings powered there again for Chris Butler to score a fourth try making the final score 26-16 and earning an extra bonus point. 

H&B will return to action, after the break for the Rugby World Cup final this weekend, away to league newcomers Cliffe Crusaders on 9th November.

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