The buzz is back at Eastbourne Borough - thanks to Ben and the bees

After months of frustrating emptiness due to Covid19, the buzz returned to Priory Lane on Sunday.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 8:21 am
Updated Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 8:24 am
The Eastbourne line-up for the match / Picture: Andy Pelling

After months of frustrating emptiness due to Covid19, the buzz returned to Priory Lane on Sunday. That sound was shared between a 700 strong-crowd who’d gathered to pay homage to Borough legend Ben Austin and a swarm of bees whose unexpected appearance caused a 10-minute delay in the second half of the testimonial.

The match, between a Brighton & Hove Albion XI managed by Dean Cox and Eastbourne Borough Legends was organised to pay tribute to an outstanding player who, in nearly 500 appearances, played a key role in a golden era that saw Borough rise from County League to National Conference status.

It was a wonderful day for turning the clock back as fans past and present exchanged memories from those unforgettable days. Even the bench had a yesteryear look about it with Gary Wilson, mastermind of The Sports’ rise to fame, back in charge.

A big day for Ben Austin / Picture: Andy Pelling

The result, a 5-3 win for Brighton, did not really matter. What did was the success of the day itself, a competitive game played in great spirit which did justice to a man of many parts, a man whose playing ability was of the highest standard and whose leadership qualities benefited and continue to benefit so many players.

For the record the Brighton goals were shared by Wes Fogden, former Borough favourite Lloyd Dawes (2), the impressive Dean Hammond and Jake Robinson with Chris Whelpdale, Gary Elphick and Borough record goalscorer finding the net for the hosts.

One goal was in a class of its own. Jake Robinson, more than 40 yards out and inside his own half, spotted Lee Hook a yard or so out of his goal and managed to lift the ball over the astonished keeper and into the back of the net.

It will be remembered for a very long time by those at Priory Lane lucky enough to see it.

Action from the game / Picture: Andy Pelling

Some of the players looked understandably short of breath as the game wore on, but the old skills were still there for all to see and admire. More memories of the past came flooding back as energetic present-day Eastbourne coach Sergio Torres came on to hit the post and provide an assist while Lee Hook made a couple of top-class saves.

After the game, Austin publicly thanked everyone for their support.

Our thanks also go to him for the huge part he played in bringing top-class non-league football to Eastbourne.

Eastbourne, first-half: Hook, Baker,

Taking the plaudits / Picture: Andy Pelling

Austin, Lovett, Jenkins, Armstrong, Pearce, Crabb, Taylor. Second-half: Banks, Austin, Ballard,Lovett, Harding, Torres,Smart, Roland, Pacquette, Ramsay. Subs: Bird, Godden, Tate.

Brighton: Baker, El-Abd, Cox, Robinson, Rents P Hinshelwood, Dawes, Hammond, Watson, Fraser, Subs: A Hinshelwood, Johnson,

Westcott, Smith, Brown, Tuck.