Eastbourne warmed up for Sunday’s Bob Rogers Cup final clash with a narrow victory at Crawley in London and South East division three at the weekend.
The game started with Eastbourne applying pressure and testing the Crawley backs with fly-half James Coulthard kicking expertly into the opposing 22. And it was he who struck the first points of the game with a drop goal.
Despite losing Rob Fenner through injury, Eastbourne continued to press and the first try arrived when Jon Oakey intercepted a long pass before offloading to Charlie Smith who crashed over. Sean Everett added the extras.
But Crawley needed a win to have a chance of remaining in the division, and they soon fought back with a converted try and then a penalty to level matters.
In a topsy-turvy half Blue and Golds skipper Joe Tobin directed a drive from the line-out and worked the ball to Oakey who put the visitors back in front.
Again the home side battled back and they edged ahead in the second half, with Eastbourne a man light after Everett’s yellow card.
For a spell it looked as though the luck wasn’t in for Roger Stanley’s men; both Tobin and Smith picked up injuries and had to be replaced.
But just when it was most needed Paul Keen stepped up to the plate.
He weaved through the Crawley defence before touching down under the posts. Everett slotted over the conversion and once again Eastbourne were leading.
Keen was at it again moments later, but this time he had the movement of Tim Williams to thank – his well-timed offload gave the scrum half a clean run to the line.
There was still time for one final try before the end; the hosts going over in the corner, but it wasn’t enough to stop Eastbourne picking up the points.
MoM: Marc Denny at number eight.