Any hopes Rye had of gaining promotion this season seem to have dissipated in the wake of a two wicket defeat to promotion contenders Slinfold last Saturday in a match sponsored by My Sweet Old Etcetera. Equally damaging to their ambitions was a further success for Crawley who now seem to have secured the second promotion slot behind Mayfield.
Rye lost the toss on a warm day and were asked to bat first on what appeared to be a very dry wicket. Rye did not get off to the start they had hoped for, losing James Hamilton to the bowling of Bajan Akeem Jordan for nine and then newly promoted Harry Smeed to the bowling of Richard Harris for one. However then ensued a solid partnership between Dan Seabrook (29) and Keshemal Waingankar (30), moving Rye towards the 70 mark. However, Jordan removed both Seabrook and Waingankar in quick succession leaving Rye vulnerable at 80 for 4.
As has been the case all too often this year, a middle order collapse sparked panic on the home benches, and Rye found themselves struggling to come to terms with the spin of Harrison Webb (2 for 53) and Guy Thorne (2 for 6). Only a ninth wicket partnership between Gary Willis (21) and Ellis Hatter (19 not out) enabled Rye to post a total that was to some extent defensible.
Upon the resumption there was some conjecture as to whether the seamers or spinners should start given the dryness of the pitch and the potential for the ball to turn. Ultimately, the seamers took the new ball and had initial success with Gary Willis (1 for 21) picking up Sean Overton for a duck. However, this was the only real success the seam bowlers experienced as both Daniel Grayson (25) and Nabeel Nilamdeen (43) moved Slinfold closer to the target with some ease.
However, the path of the game was to take a sharp turn with the introduction of spinners Smeed and Ben Clifton. Clifton (2 for 22) removed both Nilamdeen and Grayson with two excellent deliveries, paving the way for Smeed to rip the heart out of the middle order with excellent figures of 4 for 27. Nonetheless, despite a late wicket for Waingankar (1 for 49) Rye were left to rue what might have been in yet another tight game.
Although promotion is now not a possibility, there is still a lot to play for in terms of building for next season and ensuring a good finish in the league table. Rye travel to Southwater on Daturday with the hope of bouncing back and picking up a much-needed victory.
Photos : Ray Prewer