New season starts with a draw

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Rye entertained Henfield at the Salts in this Sussex Premier Cricket league division 4 fixture at the Salts on Saturday sponsored by My Sweet Old Etcetera.

Two well-matched sides contested an excellent game of cricket played on an excellent surface that saw 411 runs scored for the loss of 19 wickets in 100 overs.

Rye skipper Gary Willis won the toss and had no hesitation in deciding to bat first on what looked like an excellent wicket. Henfield started well, bowling some good lines and lengths and not providing the opening pair with much to hit. Rye suffered an early double blow with the loss of both Dan Seabrook (3) and James Hamilton (5) to the bowling of Craig Scott (2 for 35) to leave them 18 for 2 after 6 overs. 18 for 2 soon became 31 for 3 when overseas player Hugo Nel fell to the bowling of George Stewart (1 for 32). At this point many in the Rye camp were concerned that the top three had been dismissed cheaply; however, a strong middle order performance rescued Rye and enabled them to move towards a competitive target.

William Wheeler (24) and Fin Thomson (28) started the recovery, ably supported by Mickey Toomey (26). However, none of these players managed to capitalise on their starts as the introduction of spin started to cause problems for the Rye batters. At 109 for 7 Rye were very concerned that they would struggle to post a competitive total on a good salts wicket. However, Harry Smeed started to show his true potential with the bat as he counter attacked the spin bowling of Jack Parson and Zimbabwean international Brighton Mugochi to compile a well made 60 not out. It was an excellent innings made under pressure that included some excellent stroke play. Smeed has just returned from Australia where he was batting in the top order for Port Melbourne cricket club and this experience has clearly improved his batting. This will only yield dividends for Rye into the future.

Smeed was ably supported by the lower order (thus showing the batting depth the club has) establishing some sound partnerships with skipper Willis (4) and then Ben Clifton (10). However, the killer partnership from Henfields’ perspective was the 64 run last wicket partnership with number 11 Craig Pierce, who compiled a well made 13 to take Rye to a more than competitive total of 217 from 48 overs. Jack Parsons finished with 2 for 64 and Mugochi with 3 for 33.

In reply Rye started well bowling tight lines with Willis managing to move the ball both in the air and off the seam. Willis (1 for 16) was finally rewarded for his excellent opening spell after he clean bowled Harry Stewart for 21. Fellow opener Steve Mundy then followed the next ball to Harry Smeed in the same fashion to leave Henfield 29 for 2. What followed was a rather frustrating pattern of play where Henfield were able to establish small partnerships due to the Rye bowlers too often bowling a loose delivery, therefore hindering their ability to build up pressure on the opposition.

Nonetheless, Rye still managed to pick up wickets at opportune moments and managed to keep the hopes of victory alive as they removed both Paine (26) and Hodgkin (19) in quick succession to leave Henfield 106 for 4. The one remaining threat for Rye was Brighton Mugochi who started to hit the ball to all parts of the ground. However, once Mugochi was removed by Smeed (4 for 67) for a well-made 36 the game was beyond Henfield in terms of chasing down the target. It was then a race against the clock for Rye to bowl Henfield out inside their allotted 51 overs. A number of options were tried with virtually all bowlers experiencing some success, but stubborn resistance at the end from Craig Scott (29), Fred Stanley (11 not out) and George Stewart (13 not out) meant Rye fell just one wicket short of victory. Credit must go the final pair who managed to block out the final 6 overs for the draw. Harry Smeed was the pick of the attack ably supported by Hugo Nel (1 for 31), Craig Pierce (1 for 35) and Fin Thomson (1 for 29). Both sides finished with 14 points each.

There were plenty of positives for Rye to take from this game as well as some learning points in preparation for their mammoth 180 mile round trip to Stirlands on Saturday.

The 2nds of Rye travelled to play St. James on Saturday with a number of experienced players. New skipper Neale Hopper lost the toss and was duly asked to bat. Rye faltered in their new season slipping to 38-4 as Charles Davies (4 for 45 and Jake Ridell (3 for 13) made early inroads with the new ball.  Hopper (56) and John MacKenzie (51) led a fightback, but with their demise Rye subsided to 166 all out.

Michael Gibbs (54) and Jake Howey (31) got St. James off to a flying start with an 83 run partnership, Rye ruing vital dropped chances then Ian Hopper (2 for 45 off 17 0vers) and Nick Paine (3 for 43), and Jack Dudley (1 for 17) threatened a Rye victory but Mike Edmonds with 38 ensured St. James won by 3 wickets.

The 3rd XI made a winning start against Hailsham 4ths. Hailsham won the toss and elected to bat. Anthony with 70 and Kenny Dawber (27) built a century opening partnership. Skipper Martin Blincow then entered the attack and wickets began to fall regularly, but Hailsham carried on with their entertaining cavalier batting, and finally were dismissed for 213 in 36 overs. Blincow finished with 7-42, Harry Rhys Jones and Mike Stoneham snaffled a wicket each and Grev Field contributed a direct hit run out. Special mention for Pete Mathews starting his 63rd season with Rye, took a catch to mark the occasion.

Rye replied with equal vigour has Paul Payton (65) and Tim Morgan put on 50, before Morgan was caught and bowled. This allowed Tim Brownbill to join Payton and they put together a vigorous 147 run partnership as Brownbill scored his maiden century, 101 not out. Sealing his ton and victory with a six.

On Sunday Rye U15s entertained Meisse Wolverines from Belgium in a game that Rye lost by 31 runs. Meisse scored 145 all out in 30 overs, and Rye scored 111, thanks to Isaac Wall scoring 53. A good effort by a Rye side with only 2 players who were U15. A good exhibition of cricketing skills by the young colts.

This Saturday the 1sts set out for Chichester, the 2nds entertain Ansty 2nds, and the 3rds travel to Pevensey 2nds. The U15s travel to Tenterden on Tuesday.

Image Credits: Rye Cricket Club .

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