Rye Rugby Club made it back-to-back home wins with a fairly comfortable victory over Uckfield II on a bitterly cold Saturday.
The New Roaders scored 17 unanswered points during the first half to pave the way for their sixth Sussex Division Two win of the season (two of which have been walkovers).
“I think it was a good performance, but it was a very good first half and less than good second half,” said Rye coach Jeremy Nobbs, who enjoyed the nice luxury of having 21 players to pick from (three of them ended up playing for Uckfield as league rules now only permit three replacements).
“I think everybody recognised our second half performance was not what it should’ve been and we let ourselves down with our inconsistencies, but overall the feeling was one of great pleasure because we had won and when we played well, we looked good. We could’ve scored another two or three scores and made the score even more in our favour.”
Rye started the match fairly well and clearly looked the better side. The hosts had good power in the pack, the lineout was decent and they were getting in behind Uckfield’s defensive line.
Playing the sort of rugby they produced last season, albeit not quite as crisp, Rye drew first blood with a very effective try.
A good series of phases with offloading behind the gain line and strong support running lines by various players ended with John Smith scoring to the right of the posts.
All three of Rye’s tries, in fact, were fairly similar, all of them coming after multiple phases of possession. Rory Creavin scored the second under the posts following a killer inside ball.
Chris Edwards converted both of the first two tries and kicked a penalty as Rye turned around with a handy 17-0 advantage, despite squandering two or three clear opportunities due to a lack of awareness of support runners.
Rye went right off the boil in the second half, though. They effectively got drawn into a bit of an arm wrestle and started playing Uckfield’s game rather than their own, making errors and looking very ordinary as a result.
Rye’s defence did at least hold up well, but it was eventually breached when a sustained period of Uckfield pressure culminated in a try out wide on the left.
Rye also started to get on the wrong side of the referee and give away penalties, but they managed to pull themselves together sufficiently to score one more try, Dave Blackman going over for a good score on the left.
Alex Turner was Rye’s man of the match for a really good performance at scrum-half on a day when the forwards were pretty dominant and the backs were good as well.
“They’re a decent bunch of lads and when it was good, it was very good,” added Nobbs. “But when we have teams on the rack, I want to put them away, and I want the performance to be precise and controlled.”
Rye will be eager to maintain their improved form when they host Eastbourne II tomorrow (Saturday). Kick-off is 2.30pm.
“We want to end the season on a winning run,” added Nobbs, whose side beat tomorrow’s opponents 51-17 in October’s reverse fixture. “We’ve got another five or six games left and we want to win those games.”
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