Rye Rugby Club was narrowly beaten for the second successive weekend.
The New Roaders again picked up a losing bonus point after being edged out 18-15 away to Barns Green in Sussex Division Two.
Rye coach Jeremy Nobbs said: “It was definitely an improved performance. We have to look at our defence still, but there were flashes of our old self in attack and even flashes in defence. There’s still things to work on and improve, but I don’t think we’re that far away.”
Rye started brightly playing up the slope on a cold afternoon. After a period of sustained pressure, during which they should have scored before they did, Rory Creavin eventually went over to open the scoring.
Barns Green hit back with two tries in quick succession, however, to take a 10-5 lead. The first stemmed from a loose Rye kick, which allowed Barns Green’s backs to work the ball wide for a try which was aided by a missed Rye tackle.
The second came about as a result of Rye not making their tackles aggressively enough.
After an even passage of play, Barns Green mounted a sustained attack on the Rye line. Rye defended brilliantly to keep them out before eventually conceding a penalty which the hosts kicked to lead 13-5 at half time.
Playing down the slope in the second half, Rye closed to 13-10 with their second try of the game. Great support between forwards and backs led to veteran prop Andy Brown crashing over after a powerful run.
Barns Green were a well-drilled side with good backs and a powerful pack, and they extended their lead to 18-10 with their third try of the game.
Rye weren’t finished, though, and their third try made it 18-15. A blindside break down the five-metre channel after a lineout was followed by several phases of recycling and Creavin touched down for his second score.
Rye almost snatched victory in a dramatic finish. With the final play of the game, they made their way from deep in their own 22 to within five metres of the line only for a knock-on to undo all their good offloading and support play.
Ceri Ap-Bryn was man of the match for a fantastic display at full-back, in which he was very secure under the high ball and launched some terrific counter-attacks.
Harry Ames played his first adult game in the front row just days after his 18th birthday, while Brown celebrated his 53rd birthday with a try as Rye’s pack produced a great effort.
The result leaves Rye eighth in the 12-team division with three wins and five defeats from their first eight matches. They are without a fixture this weekend.
* RYE Rugby Club will open its grounds for car parking at the Rye Bonfire this coming Saturday. Money raised from the £5 charge per car will go into a restoration fund for the clubhouse roof. The club will also be open for food and drink.
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