Rarely in the club`s long history can Eastbourne have finished a season on such a high note. After scoring 65 points in the two previous games, Eastbourne put second place Crawley to the sword in a magnificent spectacle at Hampden Park on Saturday. Head coach Adrian Norwood was justifiably proud of his team at the final whistle and they of him for all his efforts. Of course there were things to iron out before the start of next season - 4 dropped passes and far too many penalties conceded - but there is every reason to think that promotion back into the London leagues is not far away.
Playing with the slope in their favour Crawley dominated the first quarter and showed why they have had such a successful season. Skilful backs and a solid pack, it took stout Eastbourne defence to keep Crawley down to 11 points from two penalty kicks and one unconverted try. However that was more or less that; from 20 minutes onwards, the tide turned to Blue and Gold. Within the space of a few minutes, tries from Shaun Everett and Conrad Major followed sterling work by Redman and galvanised the whole team into the positive mindset that wins matches. Just before half time, Charlie Parks raced up the touchline for his first and then Sid Hiremutt scuttled over for a typical scrum half five pointer. Nathan Ring calmly kicked three from the four scores and after being down, Eastbourne turned round 26-11 ahead.
Will Bettles came on as an early finisher and within a minute of the restart, had scored; there followed a moment when the lightening quick Crawley winger was hauled down by Leigh Williams in a sensational last ditch tackle which demonstrated the defensive resolve of this Eastbourne side. Although Crawley did manage one further score, it was all Eastbourne for the remainder of the game. Both Major and Hiremutt got second scores and Charlie Parks proved to be unstoppable with further tries to bring up his hat-trick. Ring converted four from the tee and Crawley must have been glad to hear the final whistle from the referee. A serious shoulder injury to Alex Borsoi was the only negative on the day and everybody will hope for a full recovery.
With the second XV scoring 70 against East Grinstead, the season could not have come to a better conclusion.
Eastbourne:- Bowry, Bettles J., Di Lieto S., Thomas, Di Lieto C., Major, Williams, Redman, Hiremutt, Ring, Borsoi, Everett, Parks, Hall, Slaughter, Imich, Bettles W., Snell
For a fine all round performance, every single team member won Man-of-the-Match