If the cyclists of the Tour of Britain blazed a trail first through Eastbourne on Saturday, it was the Blue & Golds at the Rugby Club who followed suite with a 10 try festival of running rugby to demolish Hove.
To start the new season with such an emphatic win is a credit to the new coaching team and although there were faults to be rectified, there can be no doubt that Eastbourne will be a team to watch this season. Particularly pleasing was the return to the club of stalwarts from yesteryear; Matt Pysden, Chris Brown, James Coulthard and Paul Keen all back with a point to prove. And prove it they certainly did to the great pleasure of Chairman Fraser Brooks who praised the whole side for their discipline and committed approach throughout the game.
The scoreboard started to tick over early on with a strong forward drive leading to a try for skipper Steve Clark within the first 10 minutes. However it was the second score of the afternoon by Adam Tennant that pleased the crowd; a fine running line and pinpoint accurate passing for the score.
As the pack began to dominate their opposition and the half backs showed the understanding between them that can be expected, the crowd were treated to a remarkable sight. For a prop forward to score once in a game is a cause for celebration; for a prop to score three times in one game is a remarkable achievement and Matthew Webb deserved the ovation from spectators in his efforts. It will be many years before this feat is repeated at Hampden Park.
A yellow card reduced Hove to 14 men and with a half time lead of 22-5, coach Aitkenhead was able to bring on all his substitutes. Some indecision in defence allowed Hove to take first blood after the restart but within seconds, Eastbourne had stretched their lead further with tries from Redman and Tennant. With Hove flagging fast, it was the speed of thought within the Eastbourne backs that finally broke the opposition. Two tries in the last quarter by Aaron Stevenson and a further 5 pointer from Clarke nailed the fixture and the bonus point from the match.
With 3 successful conversions from the boot of Couthard, the half century was clocked up; one would suspect not for the last time this season
Eastbourne:- Imich, Webb, Mottram, Van bentham, Redman, Cousins, Brown, Pysden, Coulthard, King, Clark, Tennant, Stevenson, Keen P, Smith, Hibben, Keen D
Man of the match - 3 try king Matt Webb