Rye Rugby Club is determined to end the season by winning some silverware.
The New Roaders will take on BSMS (Medics) in the Sussex Plate final at Eastbourne RFC tomorrow (Saturday). Kick-off is 12noon.
Rye coach Jeremy Nobbs said: “I think everybody is determined. We’re two leagues above them, but I don’t think league position or league form will necessarily be a fair indication.
“Their playing strength will depend on who’s currently studying at the medical school at Falmer so you can’t be certain until the day how strong their team’s going to be.
“They’re a good bunch of guys and they’ll be there to throw it around, but we want to have an open game and to play a good attacking game.”
Rye secured a top three finish in the Sussex Intermediate League courtesy of a splendid 20-12 victory away to East Grinstead III last weekend - their ninth consecutive league win.
Nobbs said: “I’m very pleased with how the season’s gone. The first half of the season was very much (a case of) rebuilding (after last year’s relegation), but as we’ve trained more and won more, the confidence in the club has come back.
“Since Christmas the playing squad has developed enormously. The confidence and competence of the players has grown, and we’ll be aiming to get promotion next season.”
Rye began the day level on points with Grinstead and Heathfield & Waldron II in the battle for third, and although a few players were missing, they still travelled north-west with a strong side.
The New Roaders got off to a flying start with two Matt Cooke tries wide on the left in the opening 10 minutes.
The opening score came from Rye’s first attack. After several phases featuring some very good passing and ability to keep the ball alive, Cooke went over in the corner for a fine try.
Rye were playing some good running rugby and recycling well, and shortly afterwards Cooke scored again in a very similar position to make it 10-0.
Rye continued to mount sustained passages of play, albeit without adding to their tally, and Grinstead hardly touched the ball in the opening 20 minutes.
When Grinstead did get control of possession, they put Rye under a lot of pressure, but the away defence held up solidly and Grinstead couldn’t get across the gain line.
Rye went down the other end and scored a third try. Based on a platform created by the forwards, Rory Creavin burst through four or five people on a great run from just inside Grinstead’s 10-metre line. Gary Edmunds kicked the conversion to make it 17-0 at half time.
Rye were forced firmly onto the back foot during the second half as they struggled to get hold of the ball and came under pressure at the scrum. Grinstead hit back with two tries and a conversion, but it could have been a lot more had it not been for Rye’s solid defence.
The first try came from a driving maul following a lineout. The second followed when Grinstead crashed over for a score under the posts after several phases on Rye’s line.
Although Rye’s lead was being eroded away, they didn’t panic and gradually regained control. Rye were pushing hard without looking like scoring a fourth try, but Chris Edwards kicked a penalty to give them a crucial eight-point cushion.
There were a lot of good Rye performances, but John Smith and Andy Brown were their joint men of the match. Smith gave Rye good target ball to attack, while Brown carried and tackled his heart out.
“It was a really good performance by the team and there were lots of things to be very proud of,” added Nobbs. “Our scrum was particularly effective and our open play was outstanding.”
Incidentally, Heathfield received a walkover at home to bottom side Holbrook in their last game, but finished a point behind Rye.
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