Hellingly hit by Blue and Golds in fiercely contested local derby

Eastbourne and Hellingly do battle

Eastbourne and Hellingly do battle

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Following a lay-off of three weeks since the below-par performance against Worthing, Eastbourne were at full strength and determined to put in a good showing against second place local rivals Hellingly.

At the last minute the venue was switched to Hampden Park and a good crowd guaranteed.

The supporters were not disappointed. The sun was shining, albeit in Eastbourne’s face, but the main pitch was in good shape.

And Hellingly came well-prepared and resolute. Matters were even to begin with and tackling on both sides fierce and uncompromising.

But in the first quarter Eastbourne’s pack began to show its strength against the big boys from Horsebridge. The home side was also starting to get its backline running and execute some dangerous forays into opposition territory.

Within fifteen minutes the swift delivery of the half-backs had Nick King touch down for a try neatly converted by James Coulthard.

A few minutes later a bullocking run by hooker Tom Shuttleworth saw him add five points.

But soon afterwards, in a rare incursion into Eastbourne territory, the visitors won a scrum and scored an unconverted try in the corner.

Indiscipline by the Blue and Golds then gave Hellingly a penalty in front of the posts. However, just before half-time another fine backs move saw Charlie Smith dash over for another try in the top left-hand corner. Score 17-8 to the Eastbourne.

After the interval superior fitness and overwhelming dominance in the set pieces, astute line-out spoiling and great support work all-round put Eastbourne in the driving-seat. Hard work paid dividends and after a scoreless twenty minutes, Nathan Ring touched down.

A few minutes later an intercept by the ever-alert and ever-elusive Nick King gave the home side another five points. Ring added to the score.

Not longer afterwards, Tom Shuttleworth, playing an outstanding role in the proceedings, battled his way over near the posts for James Coulthard to convert.

And another fine movement down the wing saw full-back Coulthard run in for a final score which he converted himself.

Despite a late rally by Hellingly, desperately seeking a way through Eastbourne’s defense,

the visitors failed to add to their score-sheet. Overall,the game was played in a highly competitive spirit, the vigorous exchanges were never spoilt by unpleasantness and the crowd had a fine spectacle of sporting memories to take home. All credit to Hellingly for their commitment and courage.