Chairman Brooks eyes more success after league triumph

Eastbourne Rugby
Eastbourne Rugby

Eastbourne Rugby Club chairman Fraser Brooks hailed the club’s collective effort after winning the Sussex Spitfire league title last weekend.

The Blue and Golds capped a highly successful season when they clinched the Sussex Spitfire title after defeating local rivals Hellingly 28-0.

The triumph confirms the Park Avenue club’s return to London Three South East, after a three year absence.

Eastbourne put a new coaching team together before the start of the season, which included head coach Russ Aikenhead, Rob Light, Gee Hunt, Matt Pysden and Steve Clarke.

Aikenhead’s men took the honours with one league game remaining having lost just once all season.

Chairman Brooks said, “Everyone involved in the club has contributed to this season’s successes on and off the field.

“It’s been a great year for the club, everything is in good shape and we are very optimistic for the future.

“We’ve taken big points off big clubs. The team showed great character after the Brighton defeat and have gone on to win the league in style.

“The coaching set-up has played a big part. Having five senior coaches who have played a good standard of rugby has made a difference.

“You also need home grown players. In June we launch our rugby academy. It’s all about the colts and bringing through players from a young age. We have some good young talent

“More than half who played for the first team against Hellingly on Saturday have played junior rugby at our club,”

After finishing second to Burgess Hill in the 2012/13 season, Eastbourne suffered further promotion heartbreak when they finished third in 2014 behind Pulborough and Crawley.

But Eastbourne took the league by storm this season with Aikenhead’s running rugby tearing through the Sussex One division.

They scored 576 points and conceded 145 - a league high and low in both departments.

Brooks, however, is not looking to rest on his laurels with further league glory in his firmly in his sights.

He added, “I want to win the league next season again. I have the bug now.”

If local clubs Lewes and Hastings & Bexhill, who are staring down the barrel of relegation in London Three South East, are anything to go on, Eastbourne will need to hit the ground running if they are to fulfil their chairman’s aspirations.

The last time the club were in London Three, over three years ago, it didn’t end well with Eastbourne failing to win a game all season, picking up just two points and finishing bottom of the league.

With many of the London Three clubs paying their players, somthing Eastbourne don’t entertain, the Blue and Golds will have to look within the club’s ranks for up and coming talent if they are to maintain their surge up the leagues.

Coach Akinhead added, “I’m sure we can make the step-up next season.

“We have a good group here and if we can add a couple players then I will think we will be in good shape.

“Obviously there is a step up in standard but it will be a good challenge for us and one we are looking forward.

“The players deserve it. They have been great this season and I have certainly enjoyed working with them.

“To get promoted in my season as coach is very pleasing. You can’t beat playing but this is the next best thing and winning the league certainly madethe transition a bit easier.”