Victory at Crawley will be huge step towards title

Eastbourne enjoyed victory against Seaford last week
Eastbourne enjoyed victory against Seaford last week

Eastbourne coach Russ Aikenhead believes victory this weekend at Crawley will be a big step towards winning the Sussex One league title.

The Blue and Golds travel to league rivals Crawley tomorrow (February 7) in the hope of moving closer to clinching the Sussex Spitfire One title.

Eastbourne have dominated the league for large parts of the season, losing once, and sit with a lead of seven points over second place.

With Eastbourne picking up a hard fought 29-3 win over Seaford and rivals Brighton Seconds and Hellingly dropping points as they drew and lost respectively, making the result more impressive.

Aikenhead said, “I was most impressed with the way we dug deep in the tough conditions. They were up for it.”

Looking ahead to this weekend’s game coach Aikenhead said, “If we can get a win it’s a big step to winning the league.”

A win at Crawley would leave Eastbourne seven points ahead of second place with only six matches remaining. But Aikenhead is not about to take the tough Crawley team for granted, a team who handed the Blue and Golds defeat last season, losing 36-19.

“It’s a tough place to go. It was our worst performance last season, away at Crawley. They will try and beat us up front,” said Aikenhead.

If Aikenhead’s men can secure victory at Crawley four of their six remaining matches are against bottom half clubs, putting the Park Avenue club in a dominant place to claim the league title. Aikenhead will hope his men can continue their march on Sussex One and take another step forward to winning the title.

Hellingly Rugby Club fell to their third league defeat of the season after being outclassed by a superior Burgess Hill side, running out 7-43 winners.

Defeat meant that both sides swapped place in Sussex One with Hellingly dropping down into fourth place and Burgess Hill moved up into second, only seven points behind league leaders Eastbourne Rugby Club.

The heavy defeat for the home side not only condemned them to their third league defeat of the season but dealt their promotion hopes a hammer blow, with 10 points now separating them from league leaders Eastbourne.

Hellingly will look to regroup and get back to winning ways sooner rather than later when they travel to eight placed Worthing Seniors this Saturday.

Hellingly will be more than confident of victory after turning Worthing over in the return fixture back in October, which saw them run out 42-8 winners.

Despite Hellingly’s promotion hopes taking a hit after last weekend’s heavy defeat, the club’s remaining five of seven matches are against lower league opposition. With their last two matches against high flying Eastbourne and Brighton Seconds.

If Hellingly can dispatch of the so-called lesser sides they will be in a position to challenge the Sussex pace setters come the end of the season.