Wymondham 18 Wisbech 17
Wisbech travelled to league leaders Wymondham in Norfolk on Saturday in their final game of 2015 in the knowledge that victory would see the local outfit go top of the league.
In very heavy under-foot conditions the visitors had to show all of their much-improved defensive qualities as, in the first quarter of the game, Wymodham lay siege in the Wisbech 10-metre zone.
To their credit Wisbech restricted the home side to three kickable penalties only, one of which was taken. As the game moved into the second quarter Wisbech started to put a few moves together, a powerful forward drive from a line-out put Wisbech on the front foot and hooker Nathaniel Humphreys was on hand to power over the line.
As Wisbech took control, centre Adam Bunton scored under the posts as he sliced through the home defensive line. Harry Newman added the extra points. Wisbech were forced to replace prop Raimondas Vinksna (back strain) with veteran prop Peter Lankfer. With five minutes to go before half-time the referee controversially yellow carded Lankfer for having his hands in a ruck. Shortly after, and with the extra man in the pack, Wymondham scored a try from close range. The conversion was missed – Wisbech led 12-8 at half-time.
Midway through the second half Wymondham broke through and crossed the try line. Wisbech felt that the ball had been held up in the tackle up but the referee awarded the try, which put the home side in the lead.
Wymondham’s full back received a yellow card for a dangerous high tackle. Wisbech brought on Joshua Anderson to refresh the forwards and shortly after he scored Wisbech’s third try, again after a classic forward drive.
The try edged Wisbech back into the lead but, with 10 minutes to go, the referee yellow carded centre James Patrick when he chased down a kick ahead deep in Wymondham’s half and allegedly tackled the Wymondham winger whilst not on his feet.
With Wisbech seemingly holding the home side at bay the referee carded second row James Griffin for a deliberate knock on. Down to 13 players and with over three minutes extra time played Wisbech’s defence finally cracked as Wymondham scored a try in the corner to steal victory.
Coach Leonard Veenendaal reflected: “The game is a bit cruel sometimes, you love the game but it doesn’t always love you back.
“I thought we certainly created plenty of chances, our forwards played particularly well. We put a lot of work into our scrum and line-out and I thought our defence was outstanding.”
Solomon Prestidge was named man-of-the match.