CONQUERORS LOSE BATTLE BUT CONTINUE TO FIGHT ON
Sussex Thunder 80 – 6 Hastings Conquerors
Report by Ree Dawes
The Hastings Conquerors faced-off against Sussex Thunder for the third time in what had been dubbed the ‘Battle of Sussex’ in a Saturday night fixture.
Under the floodlights at Brighton Rugby Club, the Conquerors turned up with just 20 players ready to play Thunder, after losing to them twice 70-0 and 54-0 previously this season.
The low numbers meant the majority of the team would have to play both offence and defence for the entire game.
Thunder, who were number two in the SFC2 conference, started the game on offence and it wasn’t long before they ran their way down field and into the endzone for the first six points of the game. The PAT was good and Thunder had a 7-0 lead which they would quickly extend.
The Conquerors’ make-shift defence managed to stop the Thunder offence on occasions, but gaps allowed Thunder to build the scoreline up. The Conquerors offence shone at times with quarterbacks Steven Calver and Angus Siberry working with running backs Aaron Woods and David Philpott to gain well-needed yards. Some skilful catches from Tyrell Berry, Jim Powell-Cullingford and Jared Gray also had the Conquerors moving down-field but were stopped by the Thunder defence consistently.
Meanwhile, the Sussex offence had more points on the board and were on their way to another huge win. With the final whistle looming, it seemed the Conquerors were out of steam, but Siberry managed to get a pass to Gray who escaped the Thunder defence and put six points on the board for Hastings for the first time versus Thunder.
With the final whistle, there was not a sense of sadness on the Conquerors sideline as they celebrated knowing that they fought until the last minute. With some kind words from the Thunder sideline, the Macron Hastings MVP award was awarded by Head Coach James Rogers to the whole team. He said: “All 20 guys did brilliantly. They played in new and multiple positions and didn’t complain once. They all learnt a lot from the Saturday night game and that is priceless for a team in their first year.”
The Conquerors face the top of the conference Kent Exiles away on the 26th before facing the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts away on the 3rd August in what will be a battle to avoid last place in the conference.