Rye rally for shield victory

Matt Cooke was a key figure in Rye's victory
Matt Cooke was a key figure in Rye's victory

Rye Rugby Club is through to the Sussex Shield semi-finals.

The New Roaders overturned a half time deficit to win 24-15 in a hard-fought first round tie away to Sussex One rivals Newick on Saturday.

The first 10 or 15 minutes were almost entirely contested in Rye territory and Newick passed up a couple of quite decent chances. One of them, in fact, led to a Rye breakaway which was excellently finished by Matt Cooke.

Newick got back to 5-5 around the half-hour mark, though, when clean ball from a lineout in Rye’s 22 resulted in a try from a forwards’ maul. The home side took a 10-5 lead on the stroke of half time. One of Rye’s would-be tacklers slipped, leaving a gaping hole.

Rye tightened the pack up a little bit at the break and made a slightly better start to the second period. They scored their second try 10 minutes in through a great piece of quick thinking by John Smith, who took a quick tap penalty and ran in virtually under the posts with nobody laying a finger on him.

Cooke converted to put Rye ahead and they extended their lead with a very well worked try in which Gary Edmunds and Rory Buckingham combined for Jamie Moore to break through following a lovely switch back on the inside.

Rye effectively sealed victory when the referee awarded a dubious penalty try after Chris Cordeaux was deliberately impeded during an even foot race in pursuit of a kick through. Cooke converted. Newick nabbed a consolation try in the last five minutes.