Sussex League 1
Crawley 22 Eastbourne 3
Crawley returned home to Willoughby Fields this week to continue their rebuilding in Sussex 1.
After a comprehensive victory last week in the rural sunshine at Ditchling, Crawley entertained Eastbourne.
Delighted Crawley coach Mal Chumbley selected a new look side which included four young players making their debut.
He said: “With the young players being given an opportunity and stepping up, new players showing desire and positive attitude the future looks bright. “This is a young squad which still has a lot developing to do but there is clear potential to do well. With the squad growing it allows the selection of senior and experienced players in the 2nd XV to guide and develop the next tier of Crawley rugby players and providing with can stay relatively injury-free and keep these players available the whole squad will have a good season.”
A series of penalties saw Eastbourne move into the Crawley half and earn the first points of the game when a lazy offside was punished by Eastbourne’s Nathan Ring. 3–0 to the visitors.
Crawley then dominated possession and territory. The new combinations of players were beginning to settle.
The relentless pressure caused repeated infringements from Eastbourne but the referee’s patience was in good order as they only incurred penalties on each of the occasions.
Fly-half Corey Toogood, slotted the three points to take the teams into half-time level.
In the second half, debutant Nathan Acheson plucked a pass in mid-flight and broke the line, offloading to fellow new boy Dom Morgan who went over for the first try of the game.
Sam Musgrove capped a 70-metre run with a try under the post. With the score converted Crawley in control at 17-3.
The scrum continued to be an area of frustration for all involved and watching. Repeated infringements from both sides resulted in a continuous stop – start affair and territory being exchanged through-kicks to touch.
Crawley’s pressure in the Eastbourne 22 was again ending in repeated infringements and eventually the referee’s patience’s was at its end and a yellow card was produced for slapping down a pass in a last ditch attempt to stop an overlap and potential score.
Despite several interchanges and positional switches due to injury, Crawley continued to play the sharper rugby and continued to exert pressure into the Eastbourne Half, the final score came with eight minutes to go; sustained pressure in the visitors 22 and a series of drives close to the breakdown pulled the defence in close and allowed the young Crawley back-line to exploit the space through simple and accurate handling.
The score was unconverted and the 22–3 final scoreline was a positive reflection on the effort, attitude and control from the young and developing Crawley squad.