Eastbourne Rugby Club head into their next two league matches -against Chichester Thirds and Burgess Hill- knowing that two wins will all but guarantee them the Sussex One title.
The Blues and Golds are in a commanding position in Sussex One with six points separating them from second place Burgess Hill, with only six matches remaining in the season.
If the league leaders win their next two games it will all but secure them the league title. But first they have to get past the unpredictable Chichester Third Team at Park Avenue.
Eastbourne found the going tougher than expected when they travelled to Chichester in November last year, eventually grinding out a 9-23 victory over the sixth placed club.
Eastbourne coach Russ Aikenhead is prepared for a tough match but expects his table topping side to prevail, “If you look at their record on the road, it’s not very good. If we can get at them early on we can cause them some problems. They are quite a physical side as we found out in the last match. It will be a tough match but we should win the game.”
Aikenhead welcomes back Eastbourne’s 2014 player of the season Joe Bettles, who suffered knee ligament damage at the start of the season. Bettles will provide Eastbourne with a big boost ahead of their crunch match next week with league rivals Burgess Hill, who are second in the Sussex One table.
The Blue and Golds have been struck by injury in the past couple of weeks with three of their first choice hookers suffering injuries. With fourth choice Ed Sinclair, who usually plays in the back row, filling in at hooker in recent weeks.
With Aikenhead’s men on the cusp of league glory his players will know now is not the time to slip up with two must-win matches ahead.
Kick off takes place at Park Avenue at 2.30pm.
In Sussex Spitfire One Seaford travel to Crowborough seconds.
Seaford, who are eighth in the table, will hope to get back to winning after a narrow 17-22 defeat last time out against Brighton second. Before that they were beaten 29-3 by Eastbourne. Crowborough however go into the match with confidence. Their last league outing saw them beat Holbrook 27-21 and prior to that they drew 19-19 with Brighton II. Crowborough are ninth in the table.
Fourth placed Hellingly welcome Holbrook Hellingly were challenging at the top but a recent 15-10 defeat at Worthing Senior and 7-43 home thrashing by Burgess Hill has slowed down their promotion charge.