Triple try gift presents first home league loss

Wisbech 1st XV rugby action v Cantabs
Wisbech 1st XV rugby action v Cantabs

Wisbech 14pts,

Cantabs 19pts

Wisbech suffered their first home league defeat in their final league game of the season against champions Cantabs in a hard fought match.

Wisbech now turn their attention to the home promotion play-off on Saturday, April 28.

The county had appointed a referee and two line judges to officiate as it was a considered to be such a high profile game.

The first 25 minutes was played at a fast tempo and Cantabs enjoyed most of the early possession.

However Wisbech defence look very solid and with the improvement in the Wisbech scrum Wisbech held the visitors.

It was Wisbech who opened the scoring when a drive into the visitors 10 metre line they were awarded a penalty which Shane Vickers slotted over.

Wisbech started to apply their own pressure but from a high defensive clearance kick by Cantabs from within their half Wisbech failed to catch the ball and allowed it to bounce.

It was taken by a pursuing Cantabs back whose momentum took him for an unconverted try in the corner. This gave the visitors a 3-5 half time advantage.

During the half Wisbech lost back row John Blunt with a twisted ankle and he was replaced by David Wadsley.

Influential back row Tom Martell was taken ill before the kick off and did not play while speedster James Napier is injured.

Early in the second Dave Lamacraft replaced James Griffin at prop, and now playing into a strong breeze Wisbech moved through the gears and looked to recycle quick ball from the break down. Joshua Seale replaced skipper Tom Long shortly after.

Wisbech then gifted Cantabs a breakaway try when the Cantabs winger intercepted a pass on his 10 metre line and sprinted to the line to score a converted try.

Shortly after Wisbech secured a scrum within their 5 metre line but a handling error at the base of the scrum allowed the ball to spill out which the Cantabs back row used to score their third soft try.

However the pride and passion of the home side took over and in the final 10 minutes Wisbech played their best rugby.

Once again the visitors defence managed to stem the attacks preventing Wisbech from winning clean ball but with minutes remaining scrum half Andy Claydon burrowed his way over the line. The conversion was missed.

Wisbech gathered the ball from the restart and set up a powerful drive, as all the home forwards were involved. Luke Feaviour slipped out of a tackle to scored a try and with the final kick of the day Shane Vickers slotted over the conversion. Ben Chapman had yet another great game.

“I am very proud of the players. To gift the opposition three tries was heart-breaking and heads could have easily gone down and we could have been routed. The way we fought back showed great character,” said manager Cliff Humphreys.

“At least our tries were scored by working the ball, however Cantabs are a very well organised side and credit must go to them for such a successful season.”