Rye Rugby Club booked its place in the Sussex Shield final with a 28-20 victory over Brighton University on Saturday.
Gary Edmunds outpaced the opposing wingers on his way to the corner for a brilliant try to open the scoring, but the students replied with two tries, one of which was converted.
Back came Rye as Dave Smith charged over after Ben Short was stopped five metres short of the line, 10-12. Brighton kicked a penalty from just inside the hosts’ half and extended their lead to 20-10 via a try against the run of play.
Rye cut their deficit to 20-15 with a try on the stroke of half time scored by Short. Moore kicked a penalty to make it 18-20 and Edmunds scored a really good try from 10 metres out. Moore converted for 25-20 and in the last knockings Edmunds slotted over a penalty from near the touchline.
Hastings & Bexhill began their defence of the Sussex Shield title with a bravura performance to win 39-21 against a powerful young Seaford side.
Seaford started strongly with a penalty, then an H&B kick out of defence was run back by Seaford’s wing for an 0-8 lead. Dynamic mauling and a solid scrum, however, allowed Bruce Steadman to step through the defence, 5-8.
Excellent handling broke the deadlock, Kit Claughton’s monster miss-pass to hard-working Ben Campbell saw Tom Waring score, 10-8. The pack worked H&B into Seaford’s 22 where Ash Diedericks kicked a penalty.
A second H&B defensive kick was powerfully run back for another Seaford try, 13-13 at half time. Kit Claughton’s attacking kick to the corner flag led to H&B scrummaging over the line for a penalty try, Diedericks converting.
Well-worked phases led to a scrum, Piers Claughton claiming loose ball and bursting over, Diedericks converting.
Seaford kicked a long penalty, Tom Waring ran in a second try, 32-16. Driving and inter-passing brought a second H&B penalty try, Diedericks converting. Seaford had the last word with a determined try, 39-21.
See Friday’s Observers for full reports and reaction.