Eastbourne Rugby Club stuck to the three basic principles of rugby and were rewarded with a well-deserved victory against Brighton on Saturday.
The 24-8 away triumph was the Blue and Golds’ ninth win of the season from their opening 10 games.
It puts Mal Chumbley’s side in second place in the Sussex Spitfire division one table, four points behind leaders Burgess Hill who have amassed 45 points from their 10 games.
Burgess Hill did lose some ground in the the race for the title as they suffered a surprise 28-28 draw at lowly Newick on Saturday.
Chichester III remain in third despite their 44-10 defeat at Holbrook.
Eastbourne’s victory against a physical Brighton outfit came courtesy of getting the basics correct. Firstly, they conceded fewer penalties, secondly, they played tight when the pressure was on and thirdly, they increased their tackle count to snuff out the danger.
Matt Mottram returned from suspension and he helped the Blue and Golds dominate early possession.
Rob Fenner opened the scoring when he dived over in the corner and James Coultard threaded a superb conversion from a tight angle to give Eastbourne a 7-0 lead. It was the last action Fenner saw as he injured himself during the try and was replaced.
Brighton piled on the pressure but the visitors held firm and were glad to see Coultard kick a penalty following an infringment.
By this time the big Brighton forwards were blowing hard and Eastbourne’s superior fitness began to tell.
Despite conceding a penalty themselves to reduce the margin to 10-3, the confidence in the back line started to show.
Luke Sage scored two quick tries which were both converted and gave the Blue and Golds some breathing space.
At 24-3, Eastbourne sought the final bonus point try but were thwarted and to their credit it was Brighton who rumbled forward in the final minutes and were rewarded with a typical No.8 effort.
Eastbourne: Barron, Bettles, Webb, Tobin, Mottram, Redman, Light, Turner, Aitkenhead, Cousins, Sage, Cheater, Ring, Fenner, Coulthard, D. Keen, J. Keen, Stevenson
MOM: Max Cheater