Excellent Rye too strong for rivals

Rye Rugby Club celebrates its victory away to Uckfield II in the Sussex Intermediate League
Rye Rugby Club celebrates its victory away to Uckfield II in the Sussex Intermediate League

Rye Rugby Club made it back-to-back wins with a terrific 31-0 victory away to Uckfield seconds on Saturday.

The New Roaders defied a mudbath of a pitch to score three tries in the first half and two more in the second, as well as shutting out their opponents in defence.

The result keeps Rye fourth in the Sussex Intermediate League - six points behind second-placed Heathfield & Waldron II, who they beat the previous weekend.

Rye coach Jeremy Nobbs said: “It was very good. It was a very, very muddy pitch - not good conditions at all - but the guys played excellently.”

Uckfield were quite a tough side and Rye’s scrum was under pressure throughout against a very good set of forwards. Virtually all of Rye’s ball came from the lineout or counter-attacking, yet they managed to score some well-worked tries in very slippery conditions.

The opening score came when Greg Phillips slipped with the line at his mercy, but had the presence of mind to feed Jim Goodsell, who touched the ball down.

Harry Buttery scored Rye’s second try, rounding-off a well-worked backs’ move after several phases of play. Buttery had come agonisingly close to scoring before that when, with one man to beat, his feet went from under him as he attempted to side-step and he went sprawling.

Alex Turner, another returning player, also got on the scoresheet before half time. After a period of Rye pressure on the Uckfield tryline, the scrum-half dummied the ball to the right and Uckfield bought the dummy, allowing Turner to shoot through the gap between the ruck and defenders. All three of Rye’s first half tries were converted by Gary Edmunds.

Despite Rye’s comfortable-looking margin of victory, Uckfield battered at their line on several occasions only to be thwarted by some fantastic Rye tackling.

And when Uckfield opted to kick, Rye’s back three of Buttery, Tom Martin and Ben Hassall were very secure under the high ball.

When Rye gained possession, number eight Adam Williams covered about a third of the length of the pitch and broke several tackles on a storming run to score a great solo try.

Rye fly-half Phillips scored the final try, touching down after several phases of possession featuring good support play by forwards and backs.

All 18 members of a strong Rye squad played some outstanding rugby, but the joint men of the match were Martin and Liam Booth.

Martin effected three outstanding try-saving tackles during the first half, and made a huge contribution in attack and defence.

In-form blindside flanker Booth, who was man of the match the previous weekend, was amazing in attack and defence, and his tackle count on the day must have been the highest of anyone. Any loose ball on the ground, Booth was onto.

With seven league games remaining, Rye have now hit the 50-point mark for the season courtesy of nine wins from their opening 15 matches.

They will take a break from league action tomorrow (Saturday) and instead contest a Sussex Plate quarter-final away to Plumpton. Plumpton, incidentally, lie third in Sussex Asahi League Two East having won eight and lost three of their opening 11 league encounters.

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