HOLBROOK’S hopes of taking second spot in rugby’s Sussex 1 and reaching a play-off to contest a place in the London Leagues took a huge blow in Saturday’s 76-3 defeat to Hastings.
A bad day for the North Heath Lane outfit got off on the wrong foot, when with a number of disruptions and late pull outs, the visitors arrived late with little time to prepare.
Boosted by a large crowd who had been enjoying a vice presidents’ luncheon, Hastings started strongly and playing with a considerable wind behind them pressured Holbrook from the start.
Within the first ten minutes two Holbrook attacks were repelled by Hastings with long speculative kicks upfield, on both occaisions the bounce favoured them and two tries were soon in the bag. A penalty by Rich Brooker was the visitors’ only response.
Inspired by the early scores, Hastings assumed control for long periods, and added to their tally with several more scores. Holbrook meanwhile struggled for possession and the little ball that they did win was soon turned over by the bigger and more powerful Hastings pack. By half time the score was up to 31-3 and Holbrook were looking shocked and subdued.
The second half saw Hastings grow even more in confidence as they produced moments of great attacking rugby to create more tries and compound the misery for a now beleagured Holbrook side, despite the best efforts of a young team featuring flankers Tom Bouet and Graham Farmer who worked tirelessly and together with centre Ben Wells and scrum half Chris Collier tackled non stop throughout the match.
Stand in captain Mark Devlin commented: “The squad is of course very disappointed with this performance and we missed key players but on a more positive note this gave a lot of Holbrook second team players a chance to step up and play Sussex 1 rugby but we will need to work on Holbrook’s strength in depth if we wish to compete in the London leagues.”