Rye Cricket Club’s first team suffered the agony of a last ball defeat after 100 overs of play away to Keymer & Hassocks on Saturday.
Despite the glumness, there were again bright shafts of light, giving future promise for this team facing the challenge of life in Sussex Cricket League Division Four for the first time.
The first ray of hope was Gary Willis winning the toss and inviting Keymer to bat. However, Rye came up against Michael Johnson, who struck a high quality innings of 95. He received support from Michael Poole (35), John Price (25) and Lee Pittavino (29) as Keymer eventually declared on 209-6 off 51 overs.
Rye were never able to build enough pressure on the batsmen to force the error. Runs continued to flow despite Harry Smeed taking 4-60 from 20 overs, the second ray of light of the afternoon.
Following tea, the Rye batsmen suffered a collapse to 27-5 as Poole and Pittavino both took three wickets to leave the visitors faltering. Then the future glimpse of promise as 17-year-olds Ben Clifton (40) and Jo Lovell led the fightback.
Though victory was out of the question, an honourable draw was possible. They took the score to 72-6 before Lovell fell. Although two more wickets went down quickly, Willis (18) threatened to take Rye to the draw.
But a flurry of wickets again and Clifton was left facing the final over with Rye nine down. Five balls of the 49th over were safely navigated, but the crucial last ball saw a catch pop to short leg, and Rye were all out for 117 and cruelly beaten.
Although their three-match winning run came to an end, Rye - who are yet to draw this season - are still in the top half of the table with seven matches remaining.