Under-strength Bourne fade after bright spell

Paul Keen
Paul Keen

Medway 57; Eastbourne 15

Eastbourne Rugby Club are still searching for their first win of the season after defeat at high-flying Medway on Saturday.

It was another nervous week for Eastbourne with many regular players still out of action - Robert Light and scrum half Neil Davey joining the list. Returning to the side was young number eight Oliver Brooks from Brighton University and prop Matthew Webb.

Eastbourne were determined to find their form and give second in the league Medway a challenge.

The hosts won the kick off and demonstrated their rucking abilities to secure the ball and delivering to their well-drilled backs.

But Eastbourne put in the early tackles to stop Medway penetrating the defensive line and breaking free. However, it was only a matter of time before Medway broke free and scored their first try which was converted for a 7-0 lead.

With Thomas Redman winning critical lineout ball Eastbourne got the break they deserved and Charlie Smith, with players to beat, off-loaded in the tackle to supporting scrum half Paul Keen who drew their full back and changed his running angle to score for Eastbourne - the conversion was just wide.

Medway’s strong forwards kept penetrating Eastbourne’s defence and although it held for a while, the hosts finally got the push they needed and drove over the line. Soon afterwards a converted try after a missed tackle put Medway into a 19-5 lead.

Eastbourne continued to defend but there was another try for the hosts before Nathan Ring converted a penalty to make it 24-8.

Then good play by Charlie Smith and Paul Keen ended with Sean Everett chipping ahead and scoring, Ring again converting.

Right on half-time, however, Medway sneaked another try to go in 29-15 ahead.

Eastbourne reformed but despite winning their scrummaging and releasing the ball to the back line they struggled to find ground with Medway hot on tackles and rucking to turnover ball and test full back Everett.

Medway continued to press and test Eastbourne’s tackling ability and with support play and excellent off-loading broke free for another two ties.

Eastbourne now had to dig deep and again join their phases of good attacking play together to get back into the match and not allow Medway to build an increase the score line further.

However further tries were conceded as the hosts ran out comfortable winners.

Man of Match for Eastbourne: Oliver Brooks