Wisbech Rugby Club beat West Norfolk in a tight friendly match
A nail-biting finale concluded with Wisbech Rugby Club taking the bragging rights after a hard-fought derby match against West Norfolk.
A game of contrasting halves saw a scrappy first period replaced by a free-flowing second half that either side could have won.
From the off, the away side came flying out the blocks. They were dominating territory and kept possession well to keep Wisbech pinned in their own half.
The pressure was rewarded on the 19 minute mark. From several ruck phases five metres from the try line, West Norfolk eventually bridged the stubborn Wisbech defence to score a converted try and take a 7-0 lead.
The home side had several opportunities but could not convert any of them into points.
Instead, it was Norfolk who won a penalty and converted on the stroke of half time to increase their lead to 10-0.
Looking to build on that, they started the second half hungry for victory and their intensity tested the Men in Reds’ defence.
Head coach Gerhard Wessels will be pleased with how his team managed the threat of the Norfolk side throughout these periods.
After defying the pressure, a great break from fly half Ice Tunikula found centre Josh 'bulldozer' Ferguson 12 minutes into the second period.
He proceeded to beat two defenders and ran 30 metres. Five metres from the try line and with an opposition full back on his heels, he passed to prop Kerrie McMullen on his inside, who ran in unopposed for Wisbech’s' first try. Ferguson converted to bring the score to 7-10.
Norfolk threw another spanner in the works, however, and converted another penalty to stretch their leas to 13-7.
However, what followed was a period of scintillating attacking play from Wisbech, who looked threatening with every phase of play.
Their pressure was rewarded five minutes later after a powerful Wisbech scrum.
Tunikula found Wise Kainaco from full back, who beat both the West Norfolk wing and full back to score under the post. Josh Ferguson stepped up to take the conversion and slotted it over to give Wisbech a slender 14-13 lead.
The action continued; West were not going down without a fight,but the Men in Red defended resolutely.
Wisbech won a penalty in the last minute of play and opted to kick at goal, and Josh Ferguson’s kick was good enough to increase the Men in Reds' lead to 17-13. The final whistle blew shortly afterwards, giving the home side a hard-fought victory.
It was a great team effort, with every player stepping up to the plate. The ever-present Bradley Williams was named the Round Table man of the match for his relentless carries and tireless defending.
Next, Wisbech travel to Holt on September 18 for their opening league match of the season.
Elsewhere, The Wildcats lost 17-29 to a strong Thorney XV. George Overland and Jack Obey shared man-of-the-match.
Wisbech club secretary Dave Dobson said: "Our thanks to both West Norfolk & Thorney RFC for two very good matches and giving over 80 players a welcome run out and a fantastic advertisement for the ‘Pitch Up For Rugby’, the RFU's national celebration of rugby’s return initiative."