Blue and Golds show no mercy to Heath

Steve Clarke
Steve Clarke

In-form Eastbourne continued their impressive league form with blistering victory over Haywards Heath II.

The win keeps Eastbourne second in Sussex League Division 1 behind leaders Burgess Hill who have the same seven wins from eight matches record, but four bonus points separate the two teams.

This was a much improved performance from Eastbourne over a spirited Haywards Heath side who scored the first and last tries of the game.

But it was the Blue and Golds who dominated the period between times, scoring freely and showing what a good side they have become this season.

For once the Eastbourne powerhouse scrum was unable to exert itself – but this week it was because the visitors were unable to field a front row replacement and uncontested scrums were the order for most of the game.

So it was left to the backs superbly marshalled by Steve Clark, playing out of position at fly half to demonstrate their capabilities.

His running lines, combined with the ingenuity and inate positioning of Ring, Cheater and Sage made for a fast flowing game of open rugby

Although 5-0 down, Eastbourne opened their account midway through the first half when excellent touchline work by Cheater allowed Sage into the corner.

Ten minutes later, the Eastbourne left winger scored his second after an outrageous dummy.

Between times, Russ Aitkenhead touched down following a driving maul and on the stroke of half time, the back line ran the ball through eight pair of hands and gave Max Cheater a well deserved five points.

Two conversions by Nathan Ring put the home side 24-5 ahead at half time

Turning round with the slope, further scores were inevitable.

The Eastbourne forwards were rampant in the loose with Tobin and Turner prominent; quick ball from frequent turnovers gave the backs room for manoeuvre and they took every advantage.

Ring scored the first of two second half tries by out-running the Heath defence; Rob Fenner was twice stopped just short and Aaron Stevenson, on as substitute also got into the scoring act down the left flank

Coach Mal Chumley was justifiably proud of the efforts of all 17 squad members. “In defence and attack” he said, “you all did yourselves proud”

Eastbourne: Keen, Bettles, Webb, Tobin, Chilvers, Hancock, Curtis, Turner, Aitkenhead, Clark, Sage, King, Ring, Fenner, Cheater, Oakey, Stevenson.

Man of the match: Steve Clark.

SUSSEX SPITFIRE 1

Pl W D L F A Pt

Burgess Hill 8 7 0 1 304 80 37

Eastbourne 8 7 0 1 292 106 33

Chichester III 8 6 0 2 246 176 30

Rye 8 6 0 2 163 179 26

Holbrook 8 4 1 3 190 135 22

Seaford 8 4 0 4 157 167 19

Brighton II 8 3 0 5 156 186 16

Newick 8 2 0 6 110 243 11

Lewes II 8 1 2 5 101 167 10

Hayward H II 6 2 0 4 87 158 6

Hove III 7 0 1 6 82 194 5

Midhurst 7 2 0 5 74 171 3