Old Dunstonians 30, Eastbourne 29: Blue and Golds so close to famous victory
The Blue and Golds travelled to Old Dunstonians with a full squad and looked forward to a vigorous encounter with a Kent side boasting giant locks and swift running backs.
Conditions were firm underfoot with a cold breeze and rainless skies.
The long journey may have dulled the visitors' reactions. Eastbourne started a little carelessly and let the home side in for a forwards' try from close to the line.
Despite this and a penalty after twenty minutes, the game seemed to be finely balanced with both sides attacking with energy and determination. Eastbourne were passing well and threatening the Dunstonians' line. But after half an hour Eastbourne were shattered by the attacking and running of an inspired opposition. In a period of just five minutes Old Dunstonians ran in three well-worked tries and left Eastbourne reeling. At half-time the score stood at 27-0.
The travelling supporters were looking at a defeat of humiliating proportions. But they had not reckoned with a sudden change of spirit and energy. What had looked like an early dismal autumn burial turned into a minor Charge of The Light Brigade. Eastbourne upped the tempo, intensified the pace and aggressively harried their perhaps by now complacent opponents. The penalty count rose against the Kent side and Matt Pysden's thrusting runs from penalties drove his side down field.
After ten minutes Charlie Sweet sprinted over for an astonishing score. As Eastbourne drove time and time again towards the opposition try line Dominic Groenen joined in the fun and crashed over for a further try. Periods of panic ensued and Dunstonians conceded more penalties.
Charlie Sweet, a dangerous and elusive runner, added to his tally for a third try. Eastbourne sensed a change in their fortunes. On the hour Nathan Ring scored from hard work close to the try-line. He converted his own try.
In a rare excursion to the Eastbourne 22 Old Dunstonians were awarded a penalty which pushed them further ahead. The score was 30-24. But Eastbourne were not finished and Matt Webb, having a very good game, dashed over for a final try. In the end it was not enough to finish off an amazing second-half come-back in victorious style. The final score was 30-29. The scrum was solid against a very powerful adversary, the line-out creaked a little against the giant locks of Old Dunstonians and the place-kicking left a lot to be desired.
Matt Pysden injected energy into the attacks, nobly assisted by Matt Webb with some great charges, Gareth George punching holes and making the ball available, Steve Clarke led by a example with his defence and Max Cheater at fly-half added pace and aggression to the running. All in all a heartening second-half team display of defence and attack, great passing and some great tries.
More accuracy with the boot would have seen a famous victory, but it was not to be. Next week Eastbourne are away to London South West Three opponents Teddington in the Junior Vase. Man of the Match Charlie Sweet.
Team: Peinado Garcia, George, Webb, Groenen, Hills, Ring, Redman, Williams, Pysden, Cheater, Clarke, Smith C., Sweet, Wynne, Smith J., Rokan, Hiremutt, Walker.
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