Rye Cricket Club stalwart Martin Blincow claimed a coveted hat-trick at the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground on Monday.
Blincow, the club’s honorary secretary among other roles, picked up three wickets in as many balls as Rye enjoyed a one-off opportunity to play at the home of Sussex County Cricket Club.
Blincow’s triple blast came in the Sussex Champions League Day which brought together East Sussex Cricket League champions Rye, West Sussex League winners Portslade and Mid Sussex League top dogs Crawley Down for a triumvirate of T20 matches.
Although shorn of overseas player Sandun Dias, who flew back to his native Sri Lanka on the day of the tournament but followed events through text and Facebook, and Jackson Woodcock, struck down by illness, Rye still advanced on Hove on the Rye Community Bus with confidence.
Rye lost the toss and fielded in their first game against Portslade. Undaunted by the surroundings, they bowled and fielded as well as they have throughout the season.
Craig Pierce (2-21) and Harry Smeed (2-24) restricted Portslade to 74-6. Only skipper Paul Glover (58) seemed to master the conditions as Portslade recovered to 105-6, but then Blincow achieved a bowler’s dream with his hat-trick on a county ground. The third victim an inevitable LBW. With Glover out in his next over, Blincow took 4-20 and Portslade were 113 all out.
Rye never got going in reply, however, only managing to muster 74-5 as Alfie Weller top-scored with 19. Rye were shellshocked after the optimism of the interval and that feeling was carried over into the next game.
Crawley Down never really got away, scoring 125-2, not a big score but Rye’s fielding and bowling lacked purpose and edge. The batting continued in a similar vein until at 45-6, Harry Smeed breathed life into the innings with a breezy 18. After his dismissal on 73, Spencer Fielding, playing instead of Blincow, hit 30 not out and Pierce 12 not out as Rye finished on 107-7.
Although frustrating with the bat, everybody agreed it had been a great day, and a great season for the 1st XI and the rest of Rye Cricket Club. Thoughts now turn to next summer and the challenge of the Sussex Cricket League.