THE first gay rugby team in Sussex competed in their inaugural match over the weekend in a mudbath at Hove.

The Brighton and Hove Sea Serpents, based at Hove Rugby Football Club's home in Shirley Drive, hosted Kings Cross Steelers IV on Saturday.

Despite losing the game 25-0, the team celebrated the landmark occasion which makes them the 69th gay team in the world.

One of 15 gay rugby teams in the UK, it was founded in October last year when the Gay Rugby Clubs (GRC) organisation highlighted there was not a gay team in Sussex.

Bryon Todd and Ian Chaplin held a meeting at The Camelford Arms in Brighton to test the viability of a gay rugby club, but the pair were not holding out much hope.

Mr Todd, 44, from Brighton, said: “I wasn’t sure we’d get enough guys, because Ian thought Brighton is a place where people tend to be open here, so other clubs would’ve already scooped up anyone interested in playing.

“But 30 to 40 people turned up at the meeting in November, and from that I ended up with 30 guys saying they were interested in playing.

“Some never played, some played at school, some were already playing.

“So we held training sessions in Queen’s Park with some guest coaches and we’re working towards getting our own coach.”

With the Sea Serpents’ kit still on its way, Hove RFC donated their kit for the afternoon.

Captain and prop Mr Todd was thrilled with his team’s efforts.

He added: "It went very well, most of my guys never played rugby before, so it was quite a big deal to a lot of them.

"We've still got lots of things to learn to move forward, but to play a game was brilliant.

“That’s what it was about, it’s about learning, and then went into the game after training session with they know what it looks like and feels like.”

A return leg against the London-based Steelers and another match is scheduled against a gay team based in Southampton before the Sea Serpents apply to the RFU to enter the league system next season.