St George’s Day in Kent. Would the gallant knights from Sussex be able to slay the Dragon awaiting them ?
This was always going to be a tough encounter. Expecting a hard time in September the Blue and Golds had dealt the big men from Old Dunstonians a mortal blow and come away triumphant.
This time the home-side had strengthened their ranks with more powerful and fierier beasts. But despite the hard running backs and strong pack the Kent side took time to penetrate the Eastbourne defence. The visitors were able to make amends for their own momentary lapses in defence by good teamwork and efficient mopping up of loose balls.
But Old Dunstonians managed to steal an Eastbourne ball from the scrum which led to quick distribution and a speedy winger dashing over for the first try. The conversion gave them a 7-0 lead. However, Eastbourne were not to be brow-beaten and five minutes later Matt Pysden’s lightning reflexes led to a try converted by Ben Barter.
Ever-increasing attacks by the home side put the Blue and Golds under pressure and another try followed. Then for ten minutes honours were even until a yellow card for Old Dunstonians gave Eastbourne the chance to draw a little closer. Ben Barter converted the penalty and the scores stood at 14-10.
But in the next passage of play the visitors were penalised twice to give the Kent side a 20-
10 lead at half-time. Eastbourne were putting up brave resistance to a well-organised and skilful opponent. Throughout the game they worked hard for each other, dug deep into their resources of courage and aggression. The forwards gathered the ball and charged upfield with great effect, the backs threw themselves into their tackles and if the first attempt failed there was always another player to hurl himself at the running man.
And run they did, tirelessly and strongly. A quarter of an hour into the second half Old Dunstonians notched up their third try, which was duly converted. Ten minutes later a final try followed and shortly afterwards a penalty.
But the Blue and Golds had not given up and delighted their supporters with a determined phase of gutsy attacking rugby bringing them time and time again to within a few feet of the opposition try-line. Only resolute, rock- solid defence kept them from scoring the try they deserved. The final score of 37-10 does not reflect the honours in this match played in a fine spirit. Despite one or two defensive slips this was an excellent display by Eastbourne who have shown a remarkable team spirit and lost only four out of eleven games since Christmas. This has been a very satisfying return to London South East Three where the club now lies in a very creditable fifth place.
The excellent team performances are due in great part to the efforts of Head Coach Russ Aitkenhead and his fellow coaches, but also represent the hard work, team spirit and commitment of the players.
Man of the Match : Tyler Bowry leading from the front. Noticeable also was the experienced Nick King - threatening already to hang up his boots- for some last-ditch try-saving tackles.
Team: Bowry, Shuttleworth, Peinado Garcia, Keen.,D, Farley, Sinclair, Redman, Grey,
Pysden, Barter, Hiremutt, Clark, Ring, Quinn, King, Skidmore, Slaughter.