Blue & Golds make light work of rivals

Eastbourne increase their lead against Crawley
Eastbourne increase their lead against Crawley

Eastbourne brushed aside their closest Sussex Spitfire rivals as visitors Crawley left Park Avenue with just a solitary penalty to show for their efforts.

They brought a strong fifteen but reckoned without the style of play that has characterised the Blue & Golds this season.

Regular spectators will have seen the demolition of Rye and Seaford in previous weeks but this performance in many way exceeded these earlier wins because it had to be hard-fought at every stage of the game.

An unchanged starting line-up saw Crawley take an early lead from the tee but within minutes, Nathan Ring powered over following a catch-and-take from an attacking line-out on the far touch.

Quick hands and accurate passing have been a feature of Eastbourne`s game all season and Tom Shuttleworth`s try on 20 minutes personified these skills to best effect.

The second quarter was characterised by positional changes through substitutions; the value of a strong bench gives so much flexibility to the coach that only the loss of Van Bentham was permanent.

No further scores occurred before half time although fly half McKay was pulled down just inches short.

Turning round at 12-3, Cheater came on for King; Pysden, playing a blinder at scrum half, took a tap penalty and Eastbourne were 17-3 ahead courtesy of Coulthard`s score in the corner.

That score was almost mirrored 10 minutes later when the full-back was again the receiver after forward movement down the left flank.

Further positional changes were necessary but by this time the pressure was entirely with the home side.

The last thing that Crawley needed was a yellow card but this is what they got for a deliberate knock on and the result never seemed to be in doubt thereafter. Pysden again was involved in the fifth try - his speed of thought has made a huge difference this season - and this time it was Max Cheater on the right wing who was the beneficiary.

But perhaps the biggest cheer from a sizeable crowd came when Matt Webb saw the line with 10 minutes to play and showed that modern prop forwards can do more than scrummage.

His 30 metre carry with 2 Crawley players on his back was no less than the pack deserved for a sterling effort all afternoon. Chairman Fraser Brooks awarded man-of-the-match to loose head prop, Josh Imich for standing his ground and providing the platform at scrum time.

But it was every single player who deserved fulsome praise for a fine team effort

Eastbourne Team: Josh Imich; Tom Shuttleworth; Matt Webb; Ricky Van Bentham; Gavin Farley; Tom Redman; Stefan Cousins; Nathan Ring; Matt Pysden; Paul McKay; Charlie Smith; Adam Tennant; Steve Clark; Nick King; James Coulthard; Dan Keen; Tom Buttle; Max Cheater