It was almost a case of deja vu for Eastbourne Rugby Club as opponents Medway trounced to a 17-42 victory at Park Avenue on Saturday.
When the sides met earlier this season, Medway thrashed Eastbourne 57-15 and were close to recording a similar deficit this time round.
Despite the score line though, Eastbourne’s coach Rob Outen looks to take a lot of positives from the match, which saw Eastbourne go into the break only trailing by three points.
“In the past two games we’ve played teams looking for promotion and at half time, we’ve still been in the game,” Outen observed. “It’s a testament to the lads, to their attitude and the work they’ve been doing in training that we can play the top sides and make them work for a win.”
When Eastbourne conceded a try in the opening minute of the match, it looked as if it would be a long day for the Blue and Golds, who haven’t won since the beginning of December.
However, James Coulthard notched Eastbourne’s first points of the game not long after, successfully scoring a penalty despite the blustery conditions.
Medway and Eastbourne took turns to score tries throughout the first half, including two impressive, individual tries from Eastbourne’s Will Bettles and Dan Mills to hand Eastbourne a short-lived 17-15 lead.
However, one more Medway try ensured the visitors went into the break ahead.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first, with Eastbourne left reeling as Medway scored their fifth try soon after the restart.
And as the heavens opened on Park Avenue, Medway stepped up a gear and scored three more tries, plus one conversion, to pile the misery onto second-from-bottom Eastbourne.
“I think the most disappointing thing for me was the lack of concentration during the most important parts of the game, which is right at the beginning of both halves,” Outen said.
“Their first try was a comedy of errors and staying focused is now something that we’ll be addressing in training.
“What I am pleased about is how we reacted, as we came straight back at them. But, in the end, they were fitter than us and they ran away with it in the second half.”
Eastbourne continue their search for a win when they travel to Ashford in two weeks’ time.