Rye Rugby Club produced its best performance of the season on Saturday, according to stand-in captain Alfie Chapman.
The New Roaders gave second-placed opposition a real run for their and threatened a first Sussex One victory of the season when they led at half time before eventually going down 26-15.
Chapman said: “It was the best we’ve played all season. They had a couple of first team players in their side, but we were disappointed not to win it really because we should’ve done.”
The formbook looked as though it would be adhered to when Brighton scored the game’s opening try in the first 10 minutes, but Rye came surging back to take a 12-7 half time advantage.
The home side opened its account when a backs’ move resulted in Ben Hassall running 20 metres to score. The second try came from a quick tap penalty, Gary Edmunds dancing round two or three Brighton players and touching down. Edmunds also kicked a conversion.
Brighton turned the game around, however, by scoring 19 points to Rye’s three - which came courtesy of an Edmunds penalty - in the second half.
One of Brighton’s second half tries came as the referee allowed play to continue while a melee was breaking out off the ball. The skirmish produced red cards for Rye substitute Louis Barker - his third in the space of a year - and two Brighton players.
“It was just a little scuffle and there was no need for it (the red cards),” said Chapman. “It was just handbags really.”
One of the main features of Rye’s display was the excellent work from the back row of Tom Foster, Rory Creavin and Joe Edwards. Rarely are all three available at the same time, but whenever they are, they invariably perform so effectively together.
“We’ve not played well all season and we just thought ‘if we’re going to go down, at least go down with a bit of pride’,” added Chapman.
“We were a bit upset that teams were coming down to Rye and taking it for granted they were going to win. Everyone pulled their finger out and it was a good all-round performance.”
Rye - who are now two points adrift of Holbrook at the foot of the table with nine matches remaining this season - are scheduled to visit old adversaries Seaford this coming Saturday.
Although Rye lost 22-14 in October’s reverse fixture, they have a good recent record against eighth-placed Seaford and Chapman says they’re more than capable of victory tomorrow.