Champions end with thrilling loss

Sandun Dias winds up for a big shot during Rye's narrow defeat against Heathfield Park. Picture by Simon Newstead
Sandun Dias winds up for a big shot during Rye's narrow defeat against Heathfield Park. Picture by Simon Newstead
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Rye finished their East Sussex Cricket League championship-winning season with a thrilling last over defeat to Heathfield Park.

After a season of near perfect availability, a large number of the squad were unavailable, which gave opportunities to a sprinkling of youngsters making their first team debuts. In fact, Rye could only field 10 men due to a player’s illness on the day.

Rye won the toss and elected to field. Sandun Dias, in his last match for the club, played his normal attacking game in making 59, supported by the experienced Nigel Hacking, who caressed a lovely 30.

At 124-3, Rye could have wobbled, but young gun Dan Seabrook imposed himself on the game. Supported by the youngsters, in particular Joe Fraser (12), Seabrook made a glorious 80 to steer Rye to 211-8 declared in just 46 overs. He added 48 for the eighth wicket with Tommy Nunn.

After tea, Heathfield reversed their batting order and Rye made early inroads. Seabrook, the Gandhi Tandoori man of the match for his batting, took a fabulous catch at gully, followed by Jack Dudley’s incredible steepling effort over his shoulder at long leg as Heathfield slumped to 30-5.

Rye took the opportunity to give the youngsters a go and slowly the Heathfield reply gained momentum, but not before Fraser took his maiden first XI wicket.

With 47 overs to get the runs, Heathfield were always in the game, but lost wickets regularly as Martin Blincow took two wickets, as did James Hamilton, making his debut with the ball in 2013.

It came down to the 47th over with Seabrook bowling, but against a rampant Callum Matthews (62 not out), Heathfield got over the line with one wicket and two balls to spare. Dias finished with 3-8, but Rye had used nine bowlers and everybody had enjoyed a great game to finish the season.

Before Rye can look forward to the Sussex Cricket League in 2014, on Monday they will play at the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground in the Southern Rail T20 Champions Trophy against Portslade and Crawley Down. Rye’s games are at 12.30pm and 4.30pm.