Rye Cricket Club’s first XI produced a creditable performance in defeat to table-topping opposition on Saturday.
Although Rye lost by seven wickets to runaway Sussex Cricket League Division Four leaders Steyning at the Rye Cricket Salts in a match sponsored by My Sweet Old Etcetera, there were still many reasons to be cheerful.
The youngsters from the second team experienced personal success against a Steyning team which relied on an incredible one-man perfomance by Owain Jones of almost Botham-esque proportions.
Rye elected to bat on winning the toss and suffered initially at the hands of Jones. The opening bowler accounted for five batsmen as Rye succumbed to 53-6, including three ducks.
Previously this season Rye’s tail has failed to wag, but this week the young guns up from the seconds offered a resilient fightback.
Ben Clifton (42) and Joe Lovell (23) took the score to 92 before Lovell fell, but Clifton offered further resistance with Gary Willis (21) as they moved Rye along to 141.
The final pair of Harry Smeed (15 not out) and Craig Pierce (5 not out) saw Rye to 172-9, using up all of their 53 overs. Jones finally finished with 7-45 off 20 overs.
After tea, it was the continuing Jones show as he almost carried his bat through the Steyning innings, eventually departing for 95 when the score was 150.
Jones received support from Ben Shellford (30) before Gary Hunt (20 not out) and Ashley Mwenda (13 not out)saw Steyning home to their 12th victory in 13 completed league matches, although it did take them 38 overs to get over the winning line.
Once again Clifton stood out with 1-22 off seven overs to earn the Gandhi Tandoori man of the match award. Jackson Woodcock and Smeed were the other Rye wicket-takers.
With four matches remaining, Rye remain in relative safety in mid-table during a debut Sussex Cricket League season which is still very much a learning curve for them.
This coming Saturday, Rye’s first XI will continue a difficult run of fixtures by travelling to a second-placed Portslade side which has won all of its last nine completed matches.