Blue and Golds home form proves too much for Crawley

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Eastbourne Rugby Club enjoyed a hard fought victory against London South East division three rivals Crawley at Park Avenue on Saturday.

Eastbourne have been slowly improving over the last couple months and kept their unbeaten home record intact.

The win and number of tries scored moves Eastbourne to seventh on 24 points.

Coach Roger Stanley was delighted with the win but was disappointed his men let Crawley back into the game near the end.

Although there were many on the day that played well Stanley picked out James Coulthard at number 10 for keeping the Blue and Golds on the front foot but man of the match went to Tom Redman who gave an inspired performance.

Eastbourne could not have asked for a better start. Within five minutes they led 5-0 with Matt Mottram taking a ball from the lineout and provided Paul Keen a good, clean ball. The resultant attack led to Crawley knocking on scrum to Eastbourne.

The push and ball from Paul Keen was delicately chipped over the advancing Crawley midfield for winger Charlie Smith to pounce.

This set the scene for most of the game, James Coulthard pulling the strings in midfield, the backs weaving their way around Crawley’s defence and the forwards imposing themselves at the scrum and lineout.

After 10 minutes Eastbourne were awarded a penalty and James Coulthard moved the score on to 8-0

It was 20 minutes before Crawley found their way into the Eastbourne 22 and it was a surprise to all that Crawley came away with a converted try.

Eastbourne under the influential leadership of Joe Tobin regained their composure and took control of the game. Minutes later Keen, playing like a demon at scrum half, scored a superb try-which James Coulthard converted - 15-7 to Eastbourne

On the stroke of half time Steve Clark was sin-binned for 10 minutes but Eastbourne came out all guns firing for the second period.

Nathan Ring entered the fray replacing Charlie Smith and within minutes Eastbourne had secured their third try through Shaun Everett.

Crawley were reduced to 13-men after a mad five minutes and Eastbourne’s fourth shortly followed. Prop Mathew Webb, with the full support of the pack, grounded the ball for 25-7.

His replacement Matt Finney slotted in at prop and then followed the fifth try- 30-7 as Josh Imich replaced Dan Benniman for the last 15 minutes.

For whatever reason Eastbourne fell asleep and allowed Crawley to score two unanswered tries one of which was converted.

Team: Barron, Oakey, Webb, Tobin (captain), Mottram, Benniman, Redman, Groenen, Keen, Coulthard, Smith, Williams, Clark, Everett, Tennant, Finney, Ring, Josh Imich.

On Saturday Eastbourne welcome Heathfield and Waldron looking to avenge an earlier defeat (ko 2.15pm)