Blue and Golds hit top form and surge into Sussex Shield final

Eastbourne powered to victory against Uckfield in the Sussex Shield semi-final
Eastbourne powered to victory against Uckfield in the Sussex Shield semi-final

For the second week running, Eastbourne scored 50+ points and in this total demolition of Uckfield they catapulted themselves into the final of the Sussex Cup for the first time in many years.

It was the most comprehensive win seen at Park Avenue for months and was the more pleasing as the previous two fixtures between the clubs had resulted in Uckfield victories.

In the first half, Eastbourne had the wind in their favour but not the slope. Five tries resulted scored by Thomas, Bettles, Ring, Pyle and Bowery. Four of these were converted by fly half Ring who was having a fine day with the boot. Turning round at half time, it was necessary for both sides to adjust their play to the wind and the incline and quite clearly the Blue & Golds did so rather better than their opponents. Four tries in the second half resulted; a second each for Ring and Bowery and one each for Walker and Everett. Again, all converted except for one.

So where was the game won? Looking at the structure of the team, the front five were magnificent and dominated the visitors. The back row were faster and fitter than Uckfield and quicker to the breakdown. Half backs Hiremutt and Ring played a game to remember and the three quarter line gave their opponents no space to work. The back three quickly snuffed out any threat from Uckfield and were also able to provide a potent force in attack.

From such a performance it seems almost invidious to mention individuals but eye catching moments came from Leigh Williams at prop; from Luke Thomas and Ryan Giles in the second row; from Oliver Gibson at No.8 and of course from Nathan Ring whose 24 points made him man of the match. Of the tries scored, three were truly memorable: Liam Pyle`s interception and pace after 30 minutes of the first half; Nathan Ring`s second when he took a tap penalty and made the try line without a finger being laid on him...but above all Tyler Bowery`s second when he took the ball at pace from 30 metres out and carried most of the Uckfield team on his back as he strove for the line.

The final is scheduled for the last Saturday in April and on current form, Eastbourne can feel confident about their prospects. The venue and opponents have yet to be announced

Eastbourne:- Williams, Bowery, Bettles (c), Giles, Thomas, Redman, Gibson, Smith J, Hiremutt, Ring, Quinn, Walker, Pyle, Everett, Slaughter, De Lieto, Shuttleworth, Smith C