The first meeting between the first team of Rye and Crowhurst Park in the Sussex Cricket League ended in an entertaining and high scoring draw.
Rye were just one wicket away from victory and Park 64 runs short at The Rye Cricket Salts on Saturday, with Rye picking up 14 Division Five East points to Park’s seven.
Winning the toss and electing to bowl first based on the recent wet weather was a gamble for Park skipper Mike Legg, knowing that bonus points are only accrued after the sixth wicket falls.
An opening partnership of 123 between George Wathen and overseas star Sandun Dias certainly made that decision look questionable. Park didn’t help themselves with some wayward bowling and ground fielding, allowing Rye to get off to a flyer.
Clive Tong made the breakthrough, removing both openers in quick succession after Wathen (74) and Dias (53) both posted very useful half-centuries.
Park regained some control and when Paul Brookes dismissed James Hamilton (4), Rye were seemingly faltering on 134-3 off 28 overs.
Harry Smeed and Fin Thomson forged a quickfire 50 partnership, with Smeed the main aggressor, before Brookes struck again to remove Thomson for 14.
Former opener Dan Seabrook arrived at the crease and Smeed really pressed on the accelerator. The pair added an excellent 91 runs in just 10 overs, Smeed reaching his century off 68 balls.
A Martin Barry run out sent Smeed back to the pavilion for exactly 100 to make the score 275-5, but Park still hadn’t achieved any bowling points until Josh Jones grabbed the sixth wicket caught and bowled. Rye declared on 297-6.
Chasing down a huge total always seemed unlikely and when both Park openers were back in the pavilion with the score on 11, it seemed even more so.
Clive Tong and Ed Smissen started cautiously, but began to rebuild and play some superb counter-attacking cricket. They amassed an 111-run partnership before both fell shortly after drinks for 65 and 52 respectively.
Park were still in with a chance when needing 170 runs off 24 overs on a decent track. Barry (33) and Brookes (11) looked like they could rekindle some batting partnerships of the past with a handy 44-run stand before the return of Dias removed both in quick succession.
With Park’s hopes of victory now gone, maximum batting points for passing 200 was the next target. Rye still had hope of forcing victory with Park now seven down, but another handy cameo from Keith Hobbs (22) looked like being enough to save the game.
Two quick wickets left Park needing to survive the final seven balls and despite the odd scare, they were able to do so, finishing on 234-9 with Matt Peters scoring a steady 12 not out at the end.
Park showed some fight to frustrate Rye, who on balance were the better side on the day.
Standings (all played 9 matches): 1 Rottingdean 207pts, 2 Seaford 199, 3 Buxted Park 197, 4 RYE 188, 5 CROWHURST PARK 178, 6 Cuckfield II 72, 7 Hellingly 162, 8 Glynde & Beddingham 158, 9 Lindfield II 65, 10 St James’s Montefiore II 57.