Wisbech Rugby Club honoured their ex-members during a pre-season friendly against Newmarket
Wisbech played their second pre-season friendly on a day that was about much more than rugby.
The match, and the day itself, was held to celebrate and honour the lives of Tim Mason, Michael Chapman, Claude Martin and Martin 'Noddy' West, who were dear club members that passed away during the past 18 months.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the club had been unable to do this until now.
Playing in front of a large group of spectators, Wisbech's first team narrowly lost 19-29 to Newmarket on Saturday (September 4).
The game is already being considered a missed opportunity for the men in red.
On a warm and sunny day at Harecroft Road, Leonard Veenendaal's new-look Wisbech side fielded four debutants.
In the early stages, the home side enjoyed a sustained period of pressure and kept possession well deep in the Newmarket half.
However, the visitors struck first ten minutes into the match when they capitalised on a quick counter attack after a turnover ruck. They consequently scored the first try of the day.
20 minutes into the game, some poor Wisbech defending led to a Newmarket winger showing good pace to get in behind three home players and score a converted try.
With the score at 12-0, Newmarket got on the scoresheet again.
A quick attacking move put them in a comfortable position heading towards the half-time interval.
However, Wisbech began to exert more pressure and were rewarded when centre Josh Ferguson powerfully broke through the Newmarket line. He subsequently scored the home side's first try of the afternoon.
He then converted to make the score 17-7.
Just minutes later, Ferguson was again at the heart for Wisbech's second try.
He beat two defenders and released Raimondas Vinksa, who scored a try after the quick attacking move.
Wisbech went into the half-time break 17-12 down.
A tight start to the second half resembled an arm wrestle, and it would be 25 minutes before any further points were scored.
Newmarket stretched their advantage to 22-12.
Despite the away side taking full control, Wisbech battled back and scored next to fight their way back into the fixture.
They were awarded a scrum five metres from the try line and drove over the line, with Ben Wicks scoring.
Josh Ferguson proceeded to convert once again.
The game was finely balanced at 22-19, but Newmarket showed their quality by scoring another converted try in the 78th minute to round of the scoring.
Speaking after the game, Wisbech's director of rugby said: "Today’s result was an example of what happens if you don’t take your chances. Newmarket gave the lads a lesson in what happens when you do.
"But the bottom line is we made our own problems and that’s not good enough, but we have some positives to take from the result."
Players and supporters from both teams observed a minute's silence before the match kicked off to honour the previously mentioned club members.
Wisbech will face West Norfolk this Saturday (September 11) at Harecroft Road in their final pre-season fixture, with kick-off at 3pm.