Eastbourne’s fine unbeaten start came to an abrupt end on Saturday as they succumbed 34-10 to fellow high-fliers Burgess Hill.
In what could be their hardest fixture of the season against the side now top of the Sussex Spitfire One League, Eastbourne couldn’t recover from a poor first-half display.
In front of a vocal home-support, Burgess Hill started strongly, capitalising on a loose ball to break Eastbourne’s defence to score the first try just left of the posts.
Burgess Hill stamped their authority on the game with another try after creating an overlap on the right with Eastbourne outnumbered.
Eastbourne were unable to penetrate the back-line and were punished for mistakes as they went down 31-0 at the break.
They were also unlucky to see Luke Turner come off with a hand injury before the break.
The Blue and Gold’s came out fighting in the second-half, showing character in an attempt to pull themselves back into the game.
Nick King put Eastbourne on the score sheet early on, crossing the line after good work from the backs to find the space.
Despite a yellow card shown to Eastbourne’s Adam Tenant, the visitors pinned back their opponents for long periods.
Eastbourne continued to force Burgess Hill back into their half with both Matthew Webb and Richard Barron carrying the ball into their forwards. Luke Sage managed to beat one defender and cross the line to score Eastbourne’s second try.
Strong defending from Burgess Hill made sure that Eastbourne were unable to eat away at the scoreline, and were left to rue their first-half performance as their opponents emerged 34-10 winners.
Burgess Hill now head the league by four points, with Eastbourne close behind in second place.
Eastbourne will be looking to bounce back from defeat as they face United Services from Portsmouth in the Cup.
MOM: Richard Barron - a strong performance in the scrum