Eastbourne’s hopes of progressing in the prestigious RFU competition were shattered thanks to a below par performance on Saturday.
Against an ordinary looking Beccehamians side, the Blue & Golds gave second best in a game which they had approached with confidence.
While a lot of the Beccehamian poundage wasn’t muscle, it did give them possession and forward momentum and their back line were no slouches, a combination has obviously been successful for them this season.
However, with the slope and conditions in their favour for the second half, the decent crowd expected Eastbourne to use these elements and put the visitors to the sword.
Instead, it was lack of concentration for five minutes that sealed the game and sent Beccehamians home happy.
The opening stages of the game were evenly poised.
Penalties traded for 3-3 until some quicksilver running by the opposing fly-half, combined with missed tackles led to a try in the corner.
The excellent conversion put the visitors ahead by seven points and this at a time when they had only 14 men on the pitch after the first yellow card of the afternoon. Determined driving forward by Tom Redman gave James Coulthard a deserved score on 25 minutes and although the conversion was missed, the game remained open.
Penalties on both sides began to dominate the game and on the stroke of half time, the referee spotted a home infringement which was easily slotted over; even at 8-13, the spectators felt that the result would be Eastbourne`s.
Within five minutes of the restart, Beccehamians were again yellow carded and reduced to 14 men. This should have allowed Eastbourne to press home the advantage; instead errors began to creep in.
Even the least fit Beccehamians players were made to look better than they were and when a flip midfield pass was intercepted by the elusive fly half, he only had to outpace the defence covering 60 metres to score under the posts and convert.
Barely had his colleagues had time to regain their breath than the identical thing happened again. Two interceptions within five minutes and the visitors had raced into a 19 point lead. There was no way back for Eastbourne and it was the side from SE London who will make the trip up to Norfolk for the next round.
Club President John Feakins summed up the disappointment, “We could have done better. Now we need to concentrate on the league and in particular the next game against leading club Burgess Hill.”
Eastbourne: Barron, Bettles, Webb, Chilvers, Mottram, Redman, Curtis, Turner, Aitkenhead, Tennant, Stevenson, Cousins, King, Fenner, Coulthard, Light, Keen D, Keen J, Edwins