First-team coach Mal Chumbley believes his Eastbourne side are showing signs of encouragement ahead of their potentially explosive trip to Rye on Saturday.
Last season the two sides went head-to-head in two heated battles and while Eastbourne came out on top in both, there may be some underlying bad blood between the teams.
The Blue and Golds won in resounding fashion at home, overcoming Rye 49-0, and despite coming out on top in a tight return fixture, the rough encounter will be remembered for the incident which saw Eastbourne’s Andy Curtis kicked in the face.
Speaking ahead of the game, Chumbley said, “We had a tough time down there last year. We came away with a win but picked up a few injuries in what was a fierce encounter. We’re better prepared for it this time round though.”
Chumbley described their start to the season as “stuttering”, following a a resounding defeat at Pullborough in their opening game and a victory, where they were left to rue missed chances, at home to Lewes last weekend.
And despite that win he believes there is room for improvement from the team, although, he’s been pleased with the reaction he’s seen from his players in training this week.
“Last week was a good win for us but we were left to reflect on the performance. You would have thought, on paper, that we would have come back delighted but there was an element of disappointment. Whilst the outcome was a positive one, the performance wasn’t exactly what we wanted.
“But they’ve come back hungry and that lack of satisfaction is a great sign for us.”
And they will need all the hunger they can muster for their trip to opponents who will be no strangers to them.
Eastbourne are likely to make some changes to the side for the tie , with the focus this season firmly being on improving the squad as a whole, as opposed to just the first 15. The second team have had an excellent start to the season with two wins out of two and the boss is keen to tap into the pool of talent at his disposal,
“We’ll make a couple of changes this weekend as we’re trying to rotate the squad.
“We know what having a stable team can do but we’re keen to have a very strong squad. If we have a fluid changeover when players are coming in it provides more stability.”