After last week's mud-bath and heroic loss to East Grinstead the Blue and Golds entered the lions' den on a newly-improved firm pitch in Uckfield. There was no wind or rain to hamper the play and the afternoon promised an exhibition of swift passing and running rugby.
Eastbourne got off to a great start with some excellent tackling and good running. They almost scored under the posts with a touchdown disallowed but made up for it in a few minutes with a great score out wide by winger Furo Adoki. The conversion fell just short. But the first twenty minutes were all Eastbourne. Then Uckfield struck back with a penalty. And unluckily for the visitors, a few minutes, a loose ball came Uckfield's way and they took their opportunity to score a try under the posts which they converted. The home side, by this time, had the bit firmly between their teeth and began to seriously batter Eastbourne's defences. A dangerous cross-kick gave them opportunity to score again and at one stage before half-time they were leading 24-5. But the boys from the sunshine coast were not done and a swift and vigorous movement down the left wing saw Sid Hiremutt speed over for a try. Nathan Ring's conversion hit the post from wide out.
After the break Eastbourne held on for a good ten minutes before Uckfield penetrated their defences to lead 29-10. But as hard as Uckfield tried they could not add to their score until some twenty minutes from the end. For their part Eastbourne were desperately anxious to get on the score-board again. Had a few more passes been better timed or more elegantly delivered and had the hands been a little steadier they could easily have had a few more tries. But they were at last rewarded with a fine try in the corner. Again the conversion fell short. This last kick perhaps a summary of Eastbourne's efforts so far this season. Now the first round of the competition is over Eastbourne will have time to rue missed opportunities but look forward to the rest of the season knowing they have the potential for becoming a good team. At Uckfield they showed great determination and a vigorous, combative spirit. It was pleasing to note how solid the pack was against their opponents.
Man of The Match: Tom Bacon
Team: Williams, Bowery, Bettles, Thomas, de Lieto Paterson, Gibson, Bacon, Longton, Ring. Keen P., Walker, Hiremutt, Adoki, Slaughter, Moye, Smith.