Kings were a very good side and caused the home team many problems in a game that counted as both a league and a cup game.
The toughest opposition of the day, though, was the weather.
The bitterly cold strong northerly wind created havoc at lineouts, made kicking a lottery and freezing cold hands led to many handling errors.
To their credit H&B managed all these difficulties with hard work and a determined attitude and were worthy winners on the day.
Before the game had even started both teams had run into problems.
KCH’s coach was held up on the A21 and they arrived late causing the kick-off to be delayed – and then the Hastings skipper Bruce Steadman was injured in the warm-up and was unable to play.
Danny Spencer was called up from the second XV, who were also playing at home.
Hastings took an early lead with a well-struck penalty from scrum half Sam Surridge.
Unfortunately a very groggy looking Spencer had to be helped from the pitch after only 15 minutes’ play, and was replaced by the newly married Tom Waring in his first game of the season.
Frazer McManus increased the lead with a try from the base of the pack.
Pressure from the Hastings forwards forced the visitors’ defence back over the line from a five metre scrummage for the No8 to touch down.
Thanks to outstanding performances from Matt Stringer, the McManus family and the front row, the H&B scrum dominated the game.
At half time Hastings were 8-0 ahead.
The coaching duo of Steve McManus and Dave Hirst worked their squad well and rotated the replacements, giving everybody pitch time and periods of much needed rest.
Joe Ward made a good contribution in the front row struggle,Ben Bailey played well at wing forward and Laurance Maynard had a good game on the other flank.
Eventually the ball made it through the hands of the Hastings backs out to the left wing where Joe Whitehall-James was waiting, and he burst through the back line to touch down in the corner; an excellent team try in the circumstances.
The strength and power of the Hastings pack was too much for KCH and as the game was drawing to a close Josh Clarke completed the scoring.
Jack Hardy made a good break and fed the ball to Harry Walker who made a surging run up the field, he passed the ball to Clarke who crashed over the line.
Hastings convincingly won a game they never looked like losing thanks to teamwork, determination and good management.
The 1stXV are at home again this week to Old Williamsonians (2pm).
The 2ndXV beat Hellingly so the club had a really good day.
Despite a stirring second half rally, H&B fell to their first defeat of the season in a keenly contested league encounter.
A couple of late withdrawals meant coaches Ben Davies and Roger Roberts had to mix up their team.
A head injury early in the first half to Jared Dobinson bravely defending the H&B try line meant a debut for Max Molton on the wing, and heacquitted himself admirably.
Playing into the wind in the first half, H&B made good early position and captain Will Roberts and prop Azat Kesen went close for tries.
But they were undone by a repeated first half disconnection between ball carrier and support players, allowing Hove turnover ball and the opportunity to clear their lines.
H&B were not as committed in the tackle as usual and eventually the momentum swung to the visitors.
H&B found themselves 15-0 down at the break, with Hove not having to work too hard for their tries.
Prop Alex Usher came on for the second half and acted as a rallying point for the pack with man of the match Kesen making further brave forays for good field position.
He also popped up in the loose to almost score in the corner, the ball going dead. H&B made an all-round better fist of tackling and the forwards in contesting the breakdown.
Eventually, from a scrum on the near side, just inside Hove territory, scrum half Finley Davies was able to exert pressure on the Hove put in, stealing the ball and feeding wing Ben Coulsen to score unopposed.
There were further notable close efforts on the Hove try line before full-back Monty Wheeler got a second from close range.
Wheeler thought he had got H&B level with a fine finish in the far corner but the referee brought the play back for an earlier infringement.
n Hastings & Bexhill RFC are always looking to recruit new players from five years old upwards – adult, girls and boys of all abilities.
See www.hastingsrugby.org or email [email protected] for more.
Hastings & Bexhill RFC prides itself on a warm welcome to all.