This rollercoaster ride of a match began with skipper Gary Willis losing the toss, a feat he has now achieved in all games played this season. Become a better tosser Gary! Portslade duly asked Rye to bat. James Hamilton 15 and Dan Seabrook 11 both got a start but fell in the teens, Seabrook falling to an ill-judged run. Overseas player Neil Browne, even though he is still adjusting to cricket in England, reached his usual 27 to put Rye on 84-2 in just 14 overs, before feathering a lifter to the keeper. It was left to Gandhi Tandoori man of the match Jackson Woodcock to lead the way with 58 runs, supported by Will Wheeler who knocked in 30, and suddenly Rye were riding high at 154-3. But from that high point the innings hit the down slope and Rye slumped to 174 all out in just 38 overs.
For Portslade it was Paul Glover’s 3 for 24 and Steven Case’s 4 for 36 that provided the sting in the attack. So the ride began again after tea with Rye realising they needed to attack and take 10 wickets as Portslade came out strongly. Portslade were soon 4-3, as three there players collected ducks. Sam Delaney 34 lead a recovery but it was slow and Portslade crawled to 126-7. Rye felt that victory was theirs, but the roller coaster plummeted again as Portslade’s tail enders showed how to occupy the crease and eke out the runs. Craig Pierce led the Rye attack with 3 wickets for 36 runs, and spinners Woodcock and Smeed picked up two wickets apiece. Paul Glover hit 35 to take Portslade close but Rye reduced Portslade to 165-9 and the roller coaster was poised mid-air. Finally it was Portslade who took the ride to victory in the 60th and final over. And although disappointing as a defeat, it was still a game of good performances by young players who were experiencing the county league for the first time.
The seconds meanwhile had boarded the Rye Community bus to Burgess Hill, and when you drive through places that size you realise the challenge Rye face against areas with far larger populations to call on. The Rye team had eight out of 11 players who had played in the Colts inside the last two years. A heavy thunderstorm had made the wicket stodgy but Rye elected to bat with the intention of gunning 53 overs and posting a score. Unfortunately Rye’s inexperience shone through as the bat was thrown and wickets fell: Jo Lovell top scored with 19, and only Mark Cook, who scored 14, and fifteen-year old Olly Rhys Jones who hit 16 with a late flurry of boundaries, saw Rye post 89 all out in 24 overs.
Peter Billinghay did the damage with 5-38 in 12 overs. But then a speedy turn around and Rye went to work. Skipper Luke Vick hit a quick fire 25, but Jo Lovell snapped a great catch to remove him off Nick Paine’s bowling. At the other end Billy Blackford bowled well to beat the bat but got no return for his efforts. Martin Blincow took two wickets and Olly Rhys Jones joined in with two more and suddenly Burgess Hill were 60-5. But opening bat Andrew Davies rode his luck and hung in with 31 not out, supported by Ben John’s 13 not out. That saw Burgess Hill home in 28.3 overs. If only Rye had got another 30-40 runs then it could have been a very interesting outcome. Here’s to the next match!
Next Saturday Rye’s first XI get the Rye Community bus to Henfield, while the seconds host Crowhurst Park IIs in a match sponsored by Mrs Cook. The thirds are not playing as Rotherfield IIs have dropped out of the league and the fourths travel to Hailsham 4th Xl.
The Colts under-13s beat Mersham scoring 115 -7 thanks to 30 from Harry Rhys Jones and 23 from Olly Williams. In reply Mersham scored 101-7. On Monday the under-11 As travel to Great Chart, the under-11 Bs host Kennington and the under-15s travel to Boughton. Tuesday sees the Midweek Xl host Thames Valley Gentlemen in a match sponsored by David Dandridge Associates. On Thursday the under-13s travel to Great Chart and on Friday the under-17s are home to Mersham.