By Ryan Newman
Eastbourne Rugby Club head coach Adrian Norwood is hopeful his underdogs can upset East Grinstead in the Harvey’s Sussex Shield Final tomorrow (Saturday, 12:30pm).
The final will be played at Hastings & Bexhill RFC with the Bob Rogers Cup final between Hove and Horsham to follow at 3pm.
Norwood is under no illusions which side will start as favourites, based on this season’s league form, but is quietly confident the Blue and Golds can cause an upset.
“It has been a tough season but to end it with a cup final is a massive positive for the club,” said Norwood.
“The lads have put in so much effort in the lead up to the final, especially over the last couple of weeks in training.
“We are the underdogs, without a shadow of a doubt, However, we are all full of confidence that we can surprise everybody.
“Effectively, they are a league above us because the league is split into two half-way through the season and they ended up in the top four whilst we ended up in the bottom four.”
Norwood confirmed he will be without key No 6, James Smith for the final, after Eastbourne announced their team earlier this week.
“James will be a big miss, he’s been a massive part of the whole season and for him to miss out with a lower back problem is a real shame, but we have Ethan Quinn stepping into his shoes,” explained Norwood.
“Thank you for the support of everybody throughout the season and hopefully we will have good support on the cup final day itself.
“We have a coach load going over and I know that a lot of people are making their own way as well, so hopefully it is a great day and we can enjoy some celebrations altogether afterwards.”
Eastbourne line-up: Leigh Williams, Tyler Bowry, Joe Bettles (Captain), Luke Thomas, Ryan Giles, Ethan Quin, Tom Redman, Tom Shuttleworth, Ed Longton, Nathan Ring, Sid Hiremut, Liam Pyle, Lee Walker, Shaun Everett, Carl Slaughter. Bench: Elliot Mckenna, Sam Delieto Stef Cousins, Charlie Smith, Paul Keen, Josh Buckwell, Glen Smith.