Braintree 23 Wisbech 15
Head coach Leonard Veenendaal, along with club captain Olly Mackett, worked meticulously during the week on a game plan designed to defeat their Essex hosts in the second round of the Junior Vase.
Unfortunately the first 20 minutes did not go to plan.
Wisbech conceded a try out wide on five minutes and shortly after lost skipper Solly Prestidge for 10 minutes to a yellow card for a high tackle.
During this spell Braintree were awarded a penalty try and shortly after scored their third try to take a 17-0 lead.
Restored to 15 players, Wisbech brought on veteran Ben Chapman to boost the forwards and shortly after from a powerful midfield break by Prestidge the visitors finally gained some forward momentum which saw Nathan Goodale score from close range. Shortly after and from a catch and drive at a line out hooker Nathaniel Humphreys scored.
A couple of soft penalties either side of half-time handed the advantage back to the hosts.
Wisbech continued to fight and in the final quarter lay siege to Braintree’s line. ‘White line fever’ thwarted any further tries until on full time Humphreys scored again.
“It is always disappointing to lose a cup tie but to travel away to the depths of Essex on a bleak wet day and put in a performance which should have taken the spoils was a credit to all the team,” said manager Cliff Humphreys.
“Leonard had warned the lads that the first 20 minutes of the game would be key. We will dust ourselves down and looked to improve our league position.”
Prestidge was made man of the match.
l Wisbech Wildcats travelled to Cantabs in Cambridge with only 14 players; sportingly Cantabs lent Wisbech a winger.
However Wisbech travelled with no front row which meant that the scrums were uncontested. Half-time Wisbech were 21-0 down but regrouped – the forwards working well, with Adam Bacon touching down. Cantabs, with a pool of 21 players, made substitutions and again put pressure on but still were unable to score easily and had to work hard and go around the outside.
The Wildcats are at March on Saturday in a derby.