Rye slipped to only their second Sussex Cricket League Division Four defeat of the season after being on the receiving end of a bowling blitz.
Stirlands overseas player Ajinkya Deshpande bagged eight wickets as Rye were skittled out for 102 en route to a seven-wicket loss at The Salts on Saturday.
In a match sponsored by My Sweet Old Etcetera, Rye skipper James Hamilton won the toss and elected to bat on what looked like a flat wicket.
Rye openers Dan Seabrook and Hamilton worked hard in the opening overs against the new ball before Deshpande opened his account by dismissing Seabrook (6) with the score 20.
Rye’s in-form overseas player Hugo Nel (2) nicked behind to the wicketkeeper off the bowling of Dan Mugford (1-20) three runs later. Fin Thomson (4) then came and went, becoming Deshpande’s second victim to leave Rye 36-3.
George Wathen and Hamilton worked hard to repair the damage, and all was going to plan before Hamilton fell to an excellent catch in the gully off Deshpande for a well-made 32, leaving Rye teetering at 64-4.
What followed was a rapid procession of wickets to Deshpande, who had spent the winter as part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore development squad in the IPL. His class was too much for the Rye line-up as he ripped the heart out of the lower middle order.
When Wathen (24) was ninth man out with the score 86, any hopes Rye had of posting a competitive total were lost. And despite some impressive hitting from Toby Farrow (10), Rye were all out inside 37 overs, with Deshpande returning superb figures of 8-63 from 18.2 overs.
With such a low total on the board, the chances of a fifth successive Rye victory were unlikely. Harry Smeed (2-33) and Farrow (1-11) provided Rye with some hope by claiming the scalps of Leo Wilkinson-Beal (32), George Briance (0) and George Coles (6), but William Gubbins (46 not out) guided Stirlands to the full house of 30 points.
The loss means Rye drop to third in the table, with Stirlands leapfrogging them into second place, albeit by only six points.
Rye will be back on the road this coming Saturday as they make the long journey to seventh-placed West Chiltington & Thakeham with the hope of putting their promotion push back on the rails.
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