Rye Cricket Club’s first XI maintained their position in the promotion spots with a workmanlike victory.
A four-wicket win away to Henfield kept Rye second in Sussex Cricket League Division Four and they enjoy a handy 21-point cushion over third-placed Southwater.
Rye lost the toss and unsurprisingly found themselves in the field given the lack of live grass on the pitch. As has been the case in previous weeks, Rye focused on containing runs with the hope that pressure would bring wickets.
This proved to be the case as Henfield found themselves 35-2 after 17 overs, with Gary Willis (2-36) picking up both openers relatively cheaply. That soon became 44-3 as Harry Smeed got rid of Fred Stanley for two.
However, this brought together the crucial fifth wicket pairing of Jack Parsons and Zimbabwean international Brighton Mugochi. The duo established a firm partnership of 78 before golden arm Fin Thomson (1-23) picked up the prized scalp of Mugochi for a well-made 62.
The introduction of Craig Pierce (2-43) then started to yield returns as he first removed Parsons (21) and then Dan Hodgkin (1) in rather peculiar fashion as he was adjudged to have handled the ball. However, Martyn Jepson (41 not out) and Craig Scott (20 not out) showed some lower order resistance to take Henfield to 213-7 from their allotted 53 overs.
Rye suffered an early blow in reply with the loss of Dan Seabrook for a duck. James Hamilton and Hugo Nel started to establish a partnership before the former was caught at fine leg for 22.
The in-form Nel then began to bed in, as he has done all season, and was ably supported by both Thomson (16) and Smeed (24), taking the score along to 125-5.
Requiring 89 to win, with 19 overs and five wickets remaining, the game was in the balance. However, Nel showed his class as he passed fifty and continued to stroke the ball around with consummate ease. Further partnerships were established with first Mickey Toomey (17) and latterly William Wheeler (23 not out).
Going into the final two overs, Rye required six to win and Nel duly hit Scott over his head for a maximum to win the game with an over to spare and finish on 95 not out.
Rye will entertain fourth-placed Stirlands at The Salts this coming Saturday in a match sponsored by My Sweet Old Etcetera.
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