Rye back on top ahead of potential title decider

Dan Seabrook played a crucial innings to help secure Rye's two-wicket win away to St James's Montefiore II on Saturday.
Dan Seabrook played a crucial innings to help secure Rye's two-wicket win away to St James's Montefiore II on Saturday.

Rye Cricket Club’s first team has gone back to the top of the league with two games remaining.

A two-wicket win away to St James’s Montefiore II on Saturday, combined with title rivals Seaford losing at home to Glynde & Beddingham, has put Rye 13 points clear at the top of Sussex Cricket League Division Five East.

Rye will host Seaford this comuing Saturday (12noon start) in a match sponsored by My Sweet Old Etcetera. The 45-overs-per-side win or lose clash could well be a title decider.

Rye could even be crowned champions this weekend if they pick up 18 more points than Seaford and five more than third-placed Glynde, who are at home to Crowhurst Park.

Anything less than that, though, and it will come down to the last round of fixtures on Saturday September 2 when Rye are away to Crowhurst Park.

Fourth-placed Rottingdean, who are 41 points behind Rye, are still in with a mathematical chance, but their hopes effectively ended when beaten by Rye two weeks ago.

Rye travelled to second-bottom St James last weekend knowing that victory in each of their last three games would guarantee them the title.

The start to the game was delayed by a squally shower and play was later interrupted on two further occasions, in keeping with the theme of the last few weeks.

Rye lost the toss and St James elected to bat. Rye struck two early blows, but experienced players Mike Edmonds (49) and Russell Piper (45) shared a 90-run partnership to take St James to 120-2.

Through the spin of Fin Thomson, Rye then began to whittle away at the St James batting line-up. Thomson took 3-24 and George Wathen 3-36 before the innings was wrapped up by Tobias Farrow with 2-4 as St James were dismissed for 155.

Not a great target, but on a green wicket and in overcast conditions, it might prove tricky. And as the Rye innings developed, so it would prove to be.

Rye’s reply was held together by Sandun Dias with a calm and controlled 50. At the other end, wickets fell to the left-armer Jake Riddell (3-39).

Dias was joined by Dan Seabrook (37) and they took the score to 120-5 before Dias fell. Overs were never an issue, but wickets were, and as the runs accumulated, wickets were lost.

Number 10 Craig Pierce struck the boundary to secure the victory, which was made all the sweeter as news emerged that Seaford had lost - and picked up just three points from a low scoring game in which they were all out for 76.

Sussex Cricket League Division Five East standings (all played 16 matches): Rye 358pts, Seaford 345, Glynde & Beddingham 332, Rottingdean 317, Crowhurst Park 287, Cuckfield II 284, Buxted Park 259, Hellingly 259, St James’s Montefiore II 125, Lindfield II 120.

Remaining fixtures - Rye: August 26 Seaford (h), September 2 Crowhurst Park (a).

Seaford: August 26 Rye (a), September 2 St James’s Montefiore II (h).

Glynde & Beddingham: August 26 Crowhurst Park (h), September 2 Hellingly (a).