Hastings & Bexhill are hammered in some testing conditions at Steel Cross.
A united performance, as the defense stands strong all afternoon.
Match Report to follow by Graham Callard this week.
Our Referee today was Mr Tim Hartley.
Touch Judge - Hastings & Bexhill - Mike Richardson
Touch Judge - CRFC - Ian Geering
Today's First XV Mascot this afternoon - Barnaby Radford.
It was touch and go whether the game would go ahead last Saturday at Steel Cross so it was a testament to the CRFC ground staff and both teams that the large crowd got to watch a very good game of rugby. Despite the very heavy conditions the opening passages of play saw the ball go wide and both sides trying to let the game flow. It was Crowborough who took control of possession and territory early on. In attack they played simply but effectively. In defence the tackling was assured and the defensive alignment excellent. The pressure paid off on the 10 minute mark when Ali Main intercepted and scored under the posts. Sam Kisbee then added the extras taking the score to 7-0.
The home pressure continued to build with Hastings & Bexhill seeing little of the ball. The slippery conditions underfoot and the poor handling conditions meant mistakes would be made and so it proved with Crowborough coughing up a number of scoring opportunities. It was a Hastings & Bexhill error however that allowed Tom Boddy to pounce on the ball. His quick reaction and ability to skate over the mud saw him take 'Borough's lead to 12-0.
It was 25 minutes into the game before the visitors exerted any real pressure on Crowborough. They attacked with fluency and their handling in the circumstances was exemplary. Only resolute tackling epitomised by the efforts of Tom McMahon kept them at bay. Crowborough weathered the storm and reapplied the pressure. A yellow card was show to Hastings & Bexhill Prop, a harsh decision perhaps made the visitors task even harder. It was therefore no surprise when on the stroke of half-time the home lead was extended to 19-0 with a well taken try under the posts by Alex Purnell and Sam Kisbee add the two from the conversion.
The second half opened with a bang with captain Alex Purnell making a barnstorming run only for the mud caked ball to slip from his grasp with the line begging. He made up for the slip minutes later when the dominant Crowborough pack with the old boys of Mark Rosier, Richard Tasker and Damien Hayes leading the way drove the visitors pack over the line. Purnell bounced and with Sam Kisbee again adding the extras the lead was now 26-0 and the valuable try bonus point in the bag.
The visitors continued to try to break Crowborough down but the impenetrable wall was not to be breached and unfortunately when it looked as if they would succeed the muddy ball kept finding itself slipping through cold fingers or sliding into touch. Half time replacements Andy Orchard and Andy Walters both made bullocking runs setting up good attacking positions. The pressure nearly paid off but referee who had an excellent game disallowed what looked a perfectly good try. As the game ebbed away Crowborough added to the visitors misery when a drop-out 22m got stuck in the mud and was as a consequence sliced into the hands of Andy Walters who galloped through the now tiring Hastings & Bexhill side to score under the posts. Yet another Kisbee conversion took the score to 33-0.
It is fair to say Hastings & Bexhill played well but it wasn't enough on a day when everything for Crowborough clicked into place and the simplicity of their game and good discipline was pretty much unstoppable. Whilst all 18 of the Steel Cross outfit played well Matt Botterman stood out like a beacon from start to finish. He and the squad will need to take that form into tomorrow's tricky away game at Bromley.