EASTBOURNE RFC once again showed grit and determination on Saturday despite defeat to second-place Medway at Hampden Park.
Played in atrocious conditions, the rather one-sided scoreline flatters the away side, with Eastbourne only trailing by three points at half-time.
Failure to deal with the kick-off meant the Blue and Golds found themselves trailing within a minute to a Medway try, though fly-half James Coulthard got Eastbourne on the board with a penalty.
Medway hit back with a try that came from a tap-and-go penalty after 15 minutes, but Eastbourne managed to breach the Medway defence for a try of their own shortly after.
Quick ball allowed Coulthard to pass to Will Bettles, who this week was playing at centre, blasted through the line to score under the posts.
With a solid scrum holding the larger Medway pack, the home side were the next to score. Paul Keen, making his return from injury, spun out of a tackle before beating the last man to race over the line.
A harsh yellow card for prop Jameson reduced Eastbourne to 14 men, with Medway using the one man advantage to score just before half-time, with a 17-20 scoreline.
After captain Joe Tobin was forced off with injury, Tom Redman made his return to action. Medway now had the advantage of downward slope, and with conditions deteriating, sloppy tackling allowed the away side’s winger to score twice.
Disarray in the final 10 minutes allowed a further two tries for Medway, though heads refused to be lowered.
Club Secretary Hugh Graham said, “For 70 minutes every single player gave their all and although the club is now staring down the barrel of relegation, they do not play like a doomed side.”
Eastbourne: Jameson, Mills, Finney, Brady, Tobin, Bettles, Brooks, Hayler, Keen Coulthard, Stone, Bettles, Clarke, Smith, Plantrose, Imich, Redman, Parks.