Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club pulled off a notable draw at home to Folkestone earlier in the season, but they were well beaten in the return match on Saturday.
H&B conceded nine tries at the hands of a very much on-song Folkestone side as they returned to London Three South East action on a bitterly cold afternoon.
The visitors were 5-0 down before they’d even touched the ball. From the kick-off Folkestone caught the ball, moved it across field and back again, and scored in the corner, 5-0.
After this wake-up call H&B picked up the tempo, but were outgunned by the home team for most of the match and spent much of it defending their red zone.
Folkestone’s second try came after an H&B defensive kick didn’t find touch and the hosts ran the ball back, giving their big lock an easy run in from eight metres out, 10-0.
The third try came from a scrum. A wide blind side was exploited by the home number eight, who picked up the ball from the scrum and scampered in for an unconverted try, 15-0.
H&B were constantly under pressure from the Folkestone runners. Following a kick ahead by the home side deep into H&B territory, the away defence was unable to take the ball and a Folkestone player went over for a converted try, 22-0.
Towards the end of the first half H&B started to play better rugby. Good kicks from Alex Nichols took the visitors into the Folkestone half, but good attacks from the forwards with pick and goes were spoiled by penalties and handling errors.
The second half started promisingly with Nichols returning the Folkestone kick-off deep into their half. Tim Sills followed up quickly and had the beating of his opposite number, but dropped the greasy ball.
A Folkestone scrum led to a try from a simple, but beautifully executed loop move between the fly-half and inside centre, creating an overlap which gave the winger an easy run in to the corner, 27-0.
The H&B forwards worked tirelessly. Paul Sandeman was outstanding in defence and attack with Alex Waring also an ever-present. Jacob McDonough had another good performance with lots of pick and goes.
From one of these the backs showed what they can do. The ball went along the line, Tom Waring straightened up, wrong-footing the defence and slipped the ball to Eliot Parry, who outpaced the cover defence and had a clear run to the line, 27-5.
H&B, as always, defended everything, but they were up against a good Folkestone side which scored a further four tries.
The last one was the pick of the day. A box kick was taken cleanly and a neat pass from the back of his hand to the covering winger led to the home side moving the ball along the line for a converted try.
The result reflected the amount of ball Folkestone had, but if H&B had not put their bodies on the line in defence, it could easily have ended up as a cricket score!