Rye Rugby Club produced a blistering first half display en route to a comfortable home victory on Saturday.
The New Roaders scored 32 unanswered points during the opening 40 minutes to set up a 37-7 win against Pulborough II in the Sussex Intermediate League.
Rye coach Jeremy Nobbs said: “There was a big crowd and lots of people commented on how impressed they were with how the guys played in the first half. It was a truly impressive performance and the stuff we’ve been aspiring to play all season.”
Rye scored five tries during the first half, all bar one of them in the backs, as Pulborough had no answer to their fast, expansive rugby with lots of good support play and offloading.
Matt Cooke, Chris Cordeux, Tom Martin and Rory Creavin were among the tryscorers for Rye, who also kept their error and penalty count down.
Mid-table Pulborough were no slouches, however, and really came at Rye after half time. The visitors retained possession much better and put Rye under a lot of pressure during the first 10 minutes of the second period.
That pressure eventually told when Pulborough grounded the ball against the base of the post for what proved to be their only try.
Rye’s error count started to mount and they began to get on the wrong side of the referee. The home side’s composure under pressure wasn’t as good as it should’ve been and it ended up being a tough second half.
Rye’s defence remained solid, however, and they thought they had extended their lead when Cordeux went over out wide for a well-worked try. Cordeux was caught in the face by a stray knee in the act of scoring, though, and his retaliation earned him a trip to the sin-bin. What’s more, the try was surprisingly disallowed.
Rye put that disappointment behind them to score a final try in the opposite corner, with Cooke touching down. The remainder of Rye’s points came from two Chris Edwards conversions and a penalty.
There were strong performances from the likes of Cooke, Gregg Phillips and Rowley Merricks, but man of the match was loosehead prop Dean Blackford, whose workrate in the scrum and the loose was outstanding.
Rye will face St Leonards Cinque Ports in a Sussex Plate semi-final tomorrow (Saturday). Ports are due to be at home, but problems with their pitch mean the tie could well be switched to Rye.
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