Vital victory keeps Rye firmly in title hunt

James Hamilton plays one into the off-side during Rye's victory over Rottingdean. Pictures by Simon Newstead
James Hamilton plays one into the off-side during Rye's victory over Rottingdean. Pictures by Simon Newstead

Rye Cricket Club’s first team kept its title hopes very much alive with a vital victory at home to Rottingdean on Saturday.

The 23-run success in a match sponsored by My Sweet Old Etcetera has kept second-placed Rye 14 points behind Sussex Cricket League Division Five East leaders Seaford with three games left.

Sandun Dias shapes up to play an attacking shot.

Sandun Dias shapes up to play an attacking shot.

Rye skipper Harry Smeed won the toss and chose to bat first on a decent-looking wicket. The new opening pair of Sandun Dias (30) and James Hamilton (30) got Rye off to the perfect start, putting on 53 for the first wicket.

George Wathen (21) kept the score ticking along, but at 94-3, the game looked in the balance. Smeed (74) and Fin Thomson (39) forged a fine partnership of 94, however, as they took the attack to the Rottingdean spinners.

Micky Toomey scored a quickfire 12 not out and Tommy Nunn dispatched the final ball of the innings for six to get Rye up to a great score of 230-6.

Rye’s bowlers then made a great start, Dias claiming a wicket with the fourth ball of the Rottingdean reply.

Rottingdean were struggling at 44-2, but Henry Ledden began to rebuild the innings alongside his brother George and Rye knew these two wickets were going to be the key to winning the game.

Wathen dismissed Henry Ledden for 45 and with Rottingdean now stuttering at 89-3, wickets began to fall regularly. At 141-6, Rye looked in control, but George Ledden was still there.

He and Gregory Tyrrell (30) seemed to be taking Rottingdean towards the winning line, but Smeed ripped through the last four wickets to claim 5-33 and give Rye a much-needed victory. Wathen (2-37) bowled a tight spell and Dias ended up with great figures of 2-28.

Rye will travel to second-bottom St James’s Montefiore II this coming Saturday looking to record back-to-back wins in their quest to claim the one promotion spot.

Sussex Cricket League Division Five East standings (all played 15 matches): Seaford 342pts, RYE 328, Glynde & Beddingham 302, Rottingdean 287, Crowhurst Park 274, Cuckfield II 254, Hellingly 253, Buxted Park 229, St James’s Montefiore II 117, Lindfield II 114.