Rye Town players showed what a fabulous little football club they are at the weekend, even though they went down to an unbeaten Hollington side at The Salts on Easter Monday, in the East Sussex Premier League.
Eight of Town’s players arrived on the morning of the match to sweep, drain and sand the rain sodden pitch. This commitment and enthusiasm saw the referee deem the pitch playable after their endeavours, to the joy of the hundred plus spectators who had gathered to watch this highly anticipated top of the table clash.
And what a start to the game, with only two minutes played Charlie Stevens rocked Hollington as he fired Town into an early lead. Hollington tried frantically to respond but had found their match as Town stood firm and occasionally threatened to extend their lead on the counter attack.
That was until five minutes before the interval, when Hollington finally broke though and equalised in the 40th minute. Half time came and this fast paced, fiery encounter came to an end at one apiece at the break.
During the half time break I bumped into Charmaine Ridgers, the wife of Town’s Manager, Shane. She is extremely proud of the club and especially how the team have acquitted themselves this season. “Hollington like playing us” she said. “We always give them a tough game, even though they are likely to be playing at county level next season, most teams roll over against them and are beaten before the game starts, but not Rye and they appreciate that. Our team is made up from players who are local, come from and have a connection with our town ”.
The second half started as the first half had finished; both sides giving it all with no inch spared. As the game progressed Hollington started to get a stranglehold in midfield and started to use the width of the pitch to stretch the home side. Finally the pressure told, and in the 64th minute the visitors scored their second goal of the match which was to be the decider. A thoroughly compelling match ended in a 1-2 win for Hollington.
Town’s man of the match was given to Sammy Foulkes, who in the heat of battle broke his collar bone as he landed awkwardly, but such was his desire and determination he tried to play on despite his injury. The match sponsor was Tom Jebb Decorating Services.
This was an enthralling contest, grass roots football at its finest. Rye did themselves proud, good luck to Hollington in the semi-final.
Photo: Micky Day