Rye defeat neighbours in friendly fire

Rye Rugby Club recorded its fourth consecutive league victory without even kicking a ball.

Thursday, 25th February 2016, 4:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 8:27 pm
Action from the hastily-arranged friendly between a Hastings & Bexhill XV and Rye at Ark William Parker Academy on Saturday. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-160220-215922002)

The New Roaders were awarded a 40-0 walkover win after last weekend’s scheduled opponents Holbrook were unable to raise a side.

It was the second time that Holbrook, who are bottom of the Sussex Intermediate League having come down with Rye from Sussex One last season, have failed to fulfil a fixture against Rye this term.

Holbrook did at least notify Rye in enough time for Rye to arrange a friendly away to a Hastings & Bexhill XV.

Rye ultimately ran out 38-24 winners in a high scoring contest at a windswept Ark William Parker Academy having played the first half against an H&B third XV and the second period against a second XV.

Five of Rye’s six tries came during the first half and three of the tries they conceded came during the second period.

Rye’s tries were scored by fit-again club captain Matt Cooke (2), Gary Edmunds, Greg Phillips, Micky Scriven and an H&B player loaned to Rye during the second half following a couple of injuries to the 16-man Rye squad. Chris Edwards added four conversions and hit the post with another kick at goal.

“There was a solid performance all round the team,” said Rye coach Jeremy Nobbs. “The first half was a strong performance. We’re trying to play an expansive, attractive form of rugby at the right time and we got the ball out to the wings several times.

“The second half was more challenging because we were up against their second XV and physically they were bigger than us. Their power game caused us some problems.

“I think we leaked one, possibly two tries we shouldn’t have done. We made some defensive errors which I think are a disappointment given that we’re the third best defence in the league, but having played against 30-plus guys, you probably are going to fall off one or two tackles a little bit.”

There were some very good individual performances from Rye players, including Charlie Clark, who is looking very effective at loosehead prop and whose scrummaging is getting better all the time.

Nobbs singled out Dave Smith as the stand-out performer largely as a result of carrying the ball over the hard yards, solid tackling and rallying his team-mates when Rye came under pressure.

Rye are without a fixture this coming Saturday as this is a blank weekend in the league programme and Rye are up-to-date with their league fixtures.

With five league matches remaining, Rye lie fourth in the table having won 11 of their 17 games so far. They trail third-placed Heathfield & Waldron II by four points and are five ahead of fifth-placed East Grinstead III, albeit having played three additional fixtures.

Their next outing will be at home to sixth-placed Pulborough II on Saturday March 5.

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