“They’re getting their excuses in early. They say they’ve only got fourteen and only six of them played for the first team last weekend.” The signs were not good for a close game as, when I arrived twenty minutes before kick off, Hastings & Bexhill had a full squad out doing routines and working through set plays, and their visitors had two guys standing under the posts looking worried. In the end we did get a game but as the pre-match whispers had predicted, Lordswood had travelled light and with most of their regular first team missing. Failure to fulfil is worse than a battering but it can’t have been a great feeling to be on the wrong side of a 104-0 scoreline, not least because it was only that close because the ref agreed with the captains to call the game early.
The first try came within about ten seconds of the start – or however long it takes to run a kick off back through a line and then make it under the posts. It was pretty much a procession from then on. Hastings probably lost more points to dropped ball (and foot in touch) than to tackles. Lordswood did get their hands on the ball but without a structure they put their faith in booting it away for a bit of immediate relief far more than in retaining it and making Hastings defend. This wasn’t the most fun I’ve had watching sport so it was just as well the pre-match beer was decent and the conversation around the pitch entertaining. I probably should have paid more attention to the 2nd XV match going on as that looked a lot closer.(*)
It’s somewhat trite to say this was a good result for Hastings but +104 and 5 points is definitely helpful on the league table and it didn’t seem that anybody picked up an injury so a job that had to be done was done well. For Lordswood, I guess they dust themselves down and hope they have an actual first team for their match next week. The players who stepped up from their usual level to the thankless task today more than earned their three cheers at the end but I’m sure they’ll be hoping they won’t ever need to repeat the experience.
(Some photos here)
(* = Turns out not that much closer. It finished 65-0.)