Depleted Wisbech crash in away derby

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Swaffham 34, Wisbech 20

Once again Wisbech struggled to raise an 18-man squad for an away fixture in a disappointing derby result on Saturday.

“We really thought that we would get something out of this match, especially after the excellent performance the previous week,” said club manager Cliff Humphreys.

“You can’t help players not being available, due to other commitments, but this season Swaffham is the nearest fixture for us, a 30-minute car drive. You cannot criticise the 16 players who turned out.”

In the early exchanges Wisbech took the game to the hosts and were rewarded with a converted penalty. Swaffham selected a very heavy pack and secured ball for their backs to use. On 20 minutes Wisbech conceded three tries in quick succession all of which were converted.

After a very stern half-time team talk by head coach Leonard Veenendaal, Wisbech started the second half knowing that they had to score first. The forwards started to counter the Swaffham pack and some solid work was rewarded with an unconverted try.

Wisbech continued to push forward but became exposed at the back and gave the home side a chance to score their fourth try. Wisbech showed great spirit but, despite scoring two further tries and winning the half 17-13, Swaffham always appeared to be in control.

There was an excellent performance from man of the match winger Matt Esser. Veteran Mat Desborough played his first game for two seasons.

Humphreys added: “When you travel with only 16 players the danger is that if a player picks up a knock he will play on. Ben Chapman, who damaged his shoulder, did just that and is now out for six weeks.

“We will regroup for next weekend’s home Junior Vase match against Mersea Island (2pm).”