The aim of the 2014 season for Rye Cricket Club was to secure its status in the Sussex Cricket League for 2015.
On Saturday the 2013 East Sussex Cricket League champions achieved that aim despite a close four-wicket defeat away to fellow strugglers Hellingly.
For a small club like Rye on the eastern extremity of the county the sustaining of county league status has been a challenge both on and off the field.
Rye skipper Gary Willis lost the toss yet again and was inevitably invited to bat first. Rye made a very positive start, and at 69-1 with Gandhi Tandoori man of the match Neil Browne on 45 and Mark Cook on 25, the innings was full of promise.
The opening bowlers had been seen off and it seemed an initimdating target could be set on a wicket affected by overnight rain. However, the change bowlers inflicted the mortal wounds to the Rye innings as Daniel Pellett (4-33) and James Pooley (5-23) extinguished the hopes of a positive outcome for Rye.
None of the Rye batsmen could find the wherewithal to resist the onslaught as they were dismissed for 123 in 38.4 overs. This has been the story of the season and a lesson for 2015 to ensure the talent in the batting tail is fully applied.
Hellingly struggled early on in reply against the bowling of Craig Pierce (2-37) and Willis (1-29). The hosts were wobbling at 22-2, but Craig Devlin then hit Rye out of the game with 60 off just 79 balls.
Although every other batsman had struggled, Devlin found the measure of the wicket and the length of the boundary with nine fours and a six.
His demise and the introduction of Ben Clifton (2-9) threatened an astonishing turnaround, which only flickered for a short while as Hellingly sealed victory in 38.1 overs. If only Rye had scored another 30-40 runs, the outcome might have been so very different.
The victory of Lewes Priory over Crawley condemned those two clubs to relegation and ensured Rye’s safety in Division Four.
Rye will finish seventh as long as eighth-placed Hellingly don’t outscore them by 12 or more points on the final weekend of the campaign.