Rye Rugby Club continued its winning run with a hard-earned 26-8 victory away to Sussex Police on Saturday.
Rye’s seventh successive Sussex Intermediate League win strengthens their quest for a top three finish with two matches remaining.
“We met a very determined and physical Sussex Police side, and they took a lot of overcoming,” said Rye head coach Jeremy Nobbs. “It was quite tight for most of the game.”
Sussex Police, who play their home games at Brighton RFC, drew first blood with a penalty, but Rye - who were without a couple of key players in Matt Cooke and Tom Martin - hit back with a Gregg Phillips try to lead 5-3 at half time.
Rye increased their advantage with a converted try almost immediately after the interval, scored by Rory Creavin. Sussex Police weren’t finished, though, and a driving maul following a lineout close to Rye’s line earned them a try which cut their deficit to 12-8 with 15 minutes to go.
But Rye weren’t to be denied, and converted tries from Phillips and Kevin Cathelin made the final score quite comfortable. Rye’s conversions were kicked by Chris Edwards (2) and Gary Edmunds.
There were some very good displays by the Rye forwards, particularly the front row of Charlie Clark, Dale Wilson and Graham Nunn, as well as replacement Dean Blackford.
Rye dominated the lineout overall, with Tom Foster jumping very well and stealing a lot of Sussex Police ball. The backs worked hard and the tries were well taken.
The visitors definitely improved their performance during the second half and ran in three tries as a consequence against a Sussex Police side lying just below halfway in the table.
“The set-pieces were very physical, but we got on top and managed to control the game,” added Nobbs.
Third-placed Rye are just a point ahead of fourth-placed East Grinstead III and fifth-placed Heathfield & Waldron II having won 14 of their 20 league fixtures so far this season.
Rye’s cause was helped by Grinstead losing 25-12 at home to sixth-placed Pulborough II last weekend, although Heathfield won 40-0 at home to second-bottom Uckfield II.
The New Roaders are without a fixture this weekend, and their final two games are at home to leaders Bognor II on Saturday April 16 and away to East Grinstead on April 23.
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