Eastbourne one win away from securing league play-off place

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Victory for Eastbourne Rugby Club against Brighton IIs this weekend would all but secure a second-placed finish for Mal Chumbley’s men.

The Blue and Golds currently sit 15 points above third-placed Rye and, should they pocket the full five points against Brighton on Saturday, will claim the play-off spot still with two games left.

However, Chumbley is refusing to think as far ahead as a potential promotion-deciding clash with the runner-up from the Kent league, instead focusing on what will be a tough test against Brighton this weekend.

He said, “As it stands, it looks like the league will finish with Burgess Hill first, then us and then Rye. If that’s the case, we’ll play the second-placed team in Kent, which looks like being the Beccehamians side we faced in the cup not that long ago.

“Obviously our aim is to get back to the London Leagues where this club belongs and to continue playing competitive rugby. However, we are only one year into our three-year plan and if we were to go up this year, it may stretch us a little bit too far as we stand at the moment.

“We will give it our best shot though but first, we must continue our momentum for the rest of the season.

“Brighton will be a tough one. They’ve had a good second half of the season and they’ve got some good guys in their seconds who have had first-team experience.

“We’ll be looking to put a strong team out. We don’t want to halt our momentum potentially going into the play-offs for the sake of giving some of our players a run out.”

Last Saturday, the Blue and Golds battled past bottom club Midhurst by 7-19 in bog-like conditions at The Pavilion.

Chumbley said, “It was a very heavy, muddy pitch, which makes it difficult for us as we like to play a fast, flowing game.

“We deliberately had a few second string guys out there and after a shaky start, they did really well.

“They deserved the win and hopefully they’re gaining confidence with every game.”