Wisbech bounce back after heavy defeat
Wisbech secured their first London 3 Eastern Counties league win of the campaign with a 29-19 bonus point win over Ipswich YM at Harecroft road on Saturday afternoon.
While Wisbech were heading into the game in need of a win to put the heavy loss away to Holt behind them, a buoyant Ipswich YM were more confident having beaten Newmarket on the road, and were keen to prove they were serious league contenders.
The match was incredibly tight throughout the first half, with both sides seeing a lot of the ball in the early stages.
After 27 minutes, Wisbech lost a player to the sin bin as Ipswich turned on the pressure. Wisbech responded positively and after a series of carries deep in the Ipswich half, in the 33rd minute, were awarded a penalty in front of the post that Mark Laws slotted away for a 3-0 lead.
The lead was short lived as Ipswich fought back after a penalty of their own to level the scores at three-all
On the stroke of half time, after Ipswich lost a player to the sin bin, Wisbech’s Solomon Prestidge broke through the Ipswich defence, found Nathan Goodale on his shoulder and was brought down a metre from the try line.
A quick ball from the resuming ruck saw 18-year-old Jack Obey burrow his way over the line for the try on his debut. Laws converted to give the hosts a 10-3 lead going into half time.
Two minutes into the second half, Ipswich converted a penalty to reduce the score to 10-6.
Wisbech defended resolutely but their discipline let them down as they gave away a series of penalties that led to another successful Ipswich conversion on the 53rd minute to further reduce the score to 10-9.
Wisbech responded strongly, pinning Ipswich deep in their own 22. Ipswich tried to break out five meters from their try line but a strong tackle from Kerrie McMullen dislodged the ball, which landed in the Ipswich goal area, where veteran winger Shane Vickers beat the cover defence to the loose ball and touched down for Wisbech’s second try. Laws was again on target with the conversion to restore the Wisbech lead to a more comfortable 17-9.
Five minutes later, Ipswich won a penalty of their own and opted to kick at goal to again reduce their deficit to 17-12.
But on the 70th minute, after several strong phases, Bull Hunt powered his way through the Ipswich defence, beating three defenders to cross the white wash for a fantastic individual try. The conversion was missed, leaving the score at 22-12 .
From the restart Wisbech were on the score sheet again. Veteran prop Mark Laws broke the line, offloading to Solomon Prestidge, who fed the ball wide to winger Archie Lyall who beat two defenders before passing the ball back to Prestidge on his inside to score under the post. Laws converted to put the Men in Red in a commanding 29-12 lead going into the final 10 minutes.
A flurry of fine attacking moves from Ipswich set the game up for a cagey final 10 minutes, but it would be Wisbech’s defence that would win the game.
After an incredible defensive display, the final whistle blew, giving Wisbech their first league win of the season in a fantastic match of London 3 Eastern Counties rugby.
Speaking after the game, director of rugby Leonard Veenendaal said: “It was a tough week after the heavy away loss but I am immensely proud of the way the boys responded.
“They regrouped and worked extremely hard under head coach Gerhard Wessels. It was the perfect response.
“But the win comes at costly price with Wise Baro fracturing his ankle, the fifth player we have lost to serious injury over the last four weeks. We wish Wise a speedy recovery.
“It is great to have a couple of experienced heads such as Vickers and Napier back but it took a mammoth team effort to eventually break down a tough Ipswich side.
“Nathan Goodale, Bull Hunt and Ethan Garford where in fine form but centre James Napier was simply superb, causing the visitors no end of problems in attack and rock solid in defence to be named the Round Table man of the match.”
Wisbech will make the short journey to Ely next while the Wildcats travel to Haverhill to kick of their Eastern Counties 2 league campaign.
– The previous Saturday, an inexperienced and injury-laden Wisbech suffered an 85-0 defeat recently relegated Holt.
Wisbech were on the back foot for the majority of the game, with Holt showing their dominance throughout.
However, the visitors showed grit and determination to push back right to the end.
Wisbech lost their fly half to a serious head injury which saw the match being halted for some period while the medial teams where tending the player before the match was moved to the adjacent pitch.
The injury further unsettled the visitors and left them with no substitutes remaining.
Notable performances came from Solomon Prestidge, Bradley Williams, Josh Ferguson and Ethan Garford.
Captain Dave Wadsley said: “It was tough day at the office but it’s key we learn from this and move forward.”
Wisbech director of rugby Leonard Veenendaal said: “ I am relieved to report the player was discharged the same evening and doing well.
“On behalf of Wisbech Rugby I wish to thank the Holt physio and club doctor for their fantastic medial support and care for our player.
“Also to Holt Chairman Rob Hughes and the Holt supporters who true to the spirit of rugby, showed so much care and concern for our injured player for which we are eternally grateful and it is sincerely appreciated.”