Rye relishing facing leaders

Gary Edmunds scored two tries in Rye Rugby Club's victory over a Hastings & Bexhill XV in last weekend's friendly
Gary Edmunds scored two tries in Rye Rugby Club's victory over a Hastings & Bexhill XV in last weekend's friendly

Rye Rugby Club is aiming to become only the second team this season to beat the Sussex Intermediate League leaders.

The New Roaders will host Shoreham - who are seven points clear at the top of the table having won 14 of their 15 matches so far - tomorrow (Saturday). Kick-off is 2.30pm.

Rye coach Jeremy Nobbs said: “We’re excited by it and looking forward to the match. We know it’s going to be a tough game, but we feel if we play our game properly, we have the ability to be competitive.”

Although Rye are three places and 13 points adrift of their opponents, confidence will be high after good victories over Uckfield II (31-0) and second-placed Heathfield & Waldron II (18-9) in their last two league matches.

“There’s a lot we have to do right to beat them, but I know that we have the firepower to do a job,” continued Nobbs. “There’s a belief in the club now, there’s a real passion to play. People want to play; we don’t have to persuade people to play on a Saturday now.”

Rye reached the semi-finals of the Sussex Plate last weekend without even kicking a ball after receiving a walkover in their quarter-final against Plumpton.

Plumpton were listed as the home team, but their pitch was unplayable so Rye offered to host the game instead. Plumpton couldn’t raise a side to travel, however, and conceded the tie as a result. Rye are yet to discover their semi-final opponents.

Rye did at least manage to fix up a friendly at home to a Hastings & Bexhill second/third XV and ran in six tries during a 34-10 victory.

Harry Buttery (2), Gary Edmunds (2), Tom Martin and Rory Creavin scored Rye’s tries, two of which were converted by Chris Edwards.

Nobbs said: “It was an opportunity for me to give different people a run-out and look at different combinations, effectively run a training game.

“We were missing a few of our first team forwards, and they had a much bigger and heavier pack so we were outpowered in the scrum. The windy conditions made the lineout a struggle, but our play with ball in hand was excellent.”

H&B arrived with just 14 players so Rye loaned them one initially to even up the numbers and then another after H&B second team captain Chris Pillow sustained an injury which prompted an ambulance to be called. Thankfully, the injury turned out to be less serious than first feared.

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