League champs Rye set sights on treble

Rye Town Football Club is setting its sights on a treble after being crowned league champions last weekend.

Thursday, 23rd March 2017, 5:54 pm
Updated Monday, 27th March 2017, 1:18 pm
Rye Town wide player George Ball closes down an Icklesham Casuals opponent. Pictures by Simon Newstead

Town clinched the Macron East Sussex Football League Division One title with a game to spare courtesy of a 6-0 victory at home to Icklesham Casuals.

But there’s still plenty more to play for yet because Rye are also through to the final of the Hastings & District FA Junior Cup and Robertsbridge Charity Intermediate Cup.

“That (a treble) is what we’re eyeing up now,” said Rye manager Shane Ridgers, who along with his wife Charmaine set the club up just last year.

Rye have led the way throughout the season and are now 12 points clear of second-placed Crowhurst, although that gap could come down slightly if third-placed Bexhill Town win their games in hand.

The statistics underline how Rye are worthy champions. They’ve won 15 and drawn one of their 17 league games so far, and possess the division’s best goal difference (+51), most prolific attack (66 league goals) and meanest defence (15 league goals conceded).

“We’re made up with it to be totally honest,” continued Ridgers. “I knew we had the quality to do well in the league, but sometimes you’re your own worst enemy and sometimes you can end up beating yourselves.

“I’ve tried to keep things nice and fresh through the season, changing things up at training. They (the players) are all on their toes and eager, and wanting it every week.

Rob Levett holds off an Icklesham Casuals defender.

“There’s been many players upset this year when they’ve not been selected or haven’t got on (as a substitute), but they’re positive negatives. They’ve all done their jobs and we’re not there through luck; we’re there because we’re a good outfit.”

Rye have received congratulatory messages from club sponsors, opposing players at last weekend’s game and other league clubs on social media.

“We’ve got lots of characters in there, but they (the players) have all stuck together, which is good,” Ridgers went on.

“Most importantly, they’ve all listened. They’ve been respectful to whoever’s been in charge on the day, whether it’s been me, Kelvin (Wall) or Ginge (Marc Gall), which has been really nice.

Midfield action from Rye Town's 6-0 win over Icklesham Casuals.

“The majority of them are there week in, week out at training. They pay their match fees without fail week in, week out, silly little things like that just make my job easier.”

Rye’s success has been enjoyed by football enthusiasts in the town, who have regularly turned out in good numbers to cheer the team on.

“We’ve won it for ourselves, but we’ve also won it for the people who’ve supported us,” added Ridgers.

Looking ahead, Rye are without a fixture this weekend so their next action will come in the form of a friendly away to Crowhurst on Saturday April 1.

Luke Willis in the thick of the action against Icklesham Casuals.

That should help keep them ticking over nicely ahead of their final league fixture away to Bexhill Town seven days later.

The club learned this week that the Hastings Junior Cup final, against Sedlescombe Rangers II, will take place at Hastings United FC on Monday April 24 with a 7.30pm kick-off.

A date is yet to be fixed for the Robertsbridge Intermediate Cup final against Bexhill AAC.

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Rob Levett holds off an Icklesham Casuals defender.

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Midfield action from Rye Town's 6-0 win over Icklesham Casuals.
Luke Willis in the thick of the action against Icklesham Casuals.