Rye Rugby Club finally celebrated its first victory of the season on Saturday.
It was 19th time lucky as the New Roaders chalked up a bonus point 22-3 win at home to Holbrook in a battle of Sussex One’s bottom two.
Injured Rye captain Matt Cooke said: “It’s been a long time coming, but very well deserved. Having been faced with a number of challenges this year, it was nice to finally get that first win. It was a massive relief and a lot of credit should go to the boys who have been the core of the side all season.”
Rye got off to a good start with an early converted try scored by Ben Hassall. Good, solid hands through the middle led to a well-worked try finished off by the fast winger. Gary Edmunds kicked the extra two points.
Holbrook replied with a penalty soon afterwards as Rye were guilty of offside errors at the breakdown - something which has been a problem all season - but that turned out to be the visitors’ only success of the afternoon.
Rye then butchered two or three very scoreable chances, getting within inches of the line on more than one occasion only to be denied by handling errors.
A second Rye try did eventually arrive through Kevin Cathelin, who put in a man of the match performance. The French scrum-half was there to finish a well-worked series of phases involving forwards and backs.
Rye stretched their advantage to 17-3 at half time when Rory Creavin crashed over from close range after a series of phases in the red zone.
Generally speaking it was a positive half from a Rye side which seems to be reaping the benefits of fielding a settled line-up lately.
The big Holbrook pack seemed to wane a little bit during the second period and although the visitors had the edge in the scrums, Rye were still managing to retain possession from the set-piece.
It was a case of grinding their way through the 40 minutes, keeping hold of the ball and forcing the opposition into errors.
Rye were the team in control and managing the pace of the game, and they added a fourth try to earn a bonus point. Cathelin saw some space on the blind side off a scrum and scored his second of the afternoon in the corner.
Rye’s scrum-half, fly-half combination worked very well, and it was good to see stalwarts Chris Cordeux and Jamie Moore returning in the back three and playing well.
Second-bottom Rye are now seven points ahead of Holbrook with three games remaining and look likely to finish off the bottom. Both clubs are fixtureless this weekend.
Rye: Chapman, Blackford, Scriven, D. Smith, Wolfe, Harvey, Brown, Creavin, Cathelin, Edmunds, Foster, Edwards, Hassall, Cordeux, Moore.