Coach Steve McManus welcomed back Calvin Crosby-Clark into the second row after an injury lay off.
From kick-off Old Williamsonians dominated. The home defence was under pressure and the visitors turned the pressure into points with a try from a strong scrum 5m out. An excellent kick into a stiff breeze gave OWs a seven-point lead.
Going behind was the wake up call the Hastings forwards needed and they totally controlled the play and overran the Williamsonians defence.
The Hastings account was opened with a good try out on the left from Quinn McManus. Skipper Bruce Steadman put H&B into the lead with a penalty.
Frazer McManus extended the lead with a typical No8 try from the base of the scrum and Steadman coverted with a beautiful kick from way out.The first half finished with another try from the forwards making the score at half-time 20-7.
Assistant coach Dave Hirst brought on Archie Ridpath and Chris Pillow.
Full back Harry Walker gave a man of the match display in the second half. He scored two fantastic tries and made several magnificent tackles. His first try was a result of good following-up behind a great break from wing forward Ben Bailey. Walker scooped up the ball to crash over for the bonus score.
Old Williamsonians hit back hard at the Hastings defence. Their winger was unfairly tackled by Louis Sealy, who was given a yellow card, and OWs were awarded a penalty try. The Hastings defence held on for ten minutes without conceding any more points. Max Mowbray replaced Bailey.
Walker produced the moment of the day; a mazy, zig zagging run from the 10m line left the OWs backs floundering and he crossed the line under the posts for Surridge to convert.
This was a great victory over the team above them in the league to close the gap at the top. It makes this week’s game at Faversham all the more important.
Hastings & Bexhill U13 5 Haywards Heath 25
The top two U13 teams in Sussex met on Sunday.
Hastings and Bexhill were missing some players but fielded a strong team including debutant Harley Willans.
Heath’s kick-off was fielded by Rupert Sheppard who set off on one of his trademark counter-attacking runs. Heath won the ruck and worked their way effectively down the pitch as H&B gave away a series of penalties.
After a lengthy delay for an injury to a Heath player, the inevitable try came for Heath as their centre ran through a gap in the defence.
Ben Coulson and Will Roberts had to go off with injuries. Heath capitalised by scoring two more tries.
After an impassioned half-time talk by coach Roger Roberts, H & B started the second half stronger, winning far more of the rucks and adapting to a more attritional style.
Willans went on a run into space left by the forwards and was stopped just short.
Alex Usher went on a barrelling run and Toby Fielder had a try disallowed. Sheppard tackled a Heath player, picked up the dropped ball and ran in for a try.
Heath added two more tries to make sure of victory.
H&B RFC are looking for new players from five to adult ages. See hastingsrugby.org or email [email protected]
hastingsrugby.org for more.