Wildcats derby begins Wisbech rugby weekend club double

Wisbech v Thetford Rugby Action
Wisbech v Thetford Rugby Action

The Wisbech Wildcats kicked off the club’s weekend of rugby on Friday evening returning to West Norfolk for the second ‘Friday night under the lights’ match.

The Wildcats claimed a 24-7 win in the first fixture back on February 9.

Both sides fielded very different looking sides. The Wildcats got off to a good start when after 10 minutes of sustained pressure in the West half, good hands saw left wing Max Hudson go over for the opening try in the left hand corner. The Wildcats forwards continued their dominance putting in several phases with the forwards in particular putting in some big carries. The pressure was eventually rewarded with the backs finding some space and good inter-play between centre Shane Vickers and flyhalf Jon Turner to create some space, Turner beating the last two defenders to go over in the right hand corner to go in the break with a 10-0 lead.

The men from King’s Lynn came out in the second half launching several phases of their own they were eventually rewarded with a good converted try of their own to close the gap to 10-7. No quarter asked, no quarter given, if this was meant to be a ‘friendly’ the 30 players on the field certainly did not get the memo. What had been a very physical high tempo match up to then went up a few more notches, with big hits coming from both sides in a titanic arm-wrestle.

Wisbech were again rewarded for sustained pressure when hooker George ‘action-man’ Gordon finished with a strong run to cross the try line and stretch their lead the 15-7. With 10 minutes to go it was all West who responded with another converted try and close the gap trailing by one point, 15-14. The arm wrestle continued with both sides getting opportunities and both sides defending for all they worth, the final whistle with Wisbech claiming a 15-14 win and retaining their 100% win record. There were many outstanding individual performances but the experience veterans David Wadsley and Shane Vickers sharing the Wisbech Round Table man-of-the-match award for their solid performance in the midfield.

l Wisbech 1st XV returned to league action for the first time since February 17 when they entertained and beat injury-hit Newmarket at Harecroft Road, 72-10.

The fixture had been postponed by snow and ice on March 3 and Wisbech had won at Newmarket earlier in the season 23-10. Both sides have had a challenging season and so the fixture offered both the opportunity to earn a win.

Newmarket kicked off into a very strong and bitingly cold easterly wind. The visitors were strong in the scrum while the home side combined well to move the ball through hands and into space. A series of driving mauls by Wisbech gave them a foothold in the Newmarket 22 metre area and this pressure was turned into points with a converted try.

Unfortunately in the build up to the try the Newmarket loose head prop suffered a serious head injury which required an ambulance to be called. After ensuring the player was receiving the appropriate care and attention the game was moved to an adjacent pitch.

Wisbech settled the quicker of the two sides and the home backs linked well to ran in five tries. The Newmarket forwards proved adept at the pick and drive to put Wisbech under sustained pressure and first half ended with a Newmarket try after a clearance kick failed to find touch and the visiting right winger touched down in the corner.

The pattern of play in the second half mirrored that of the first half. Newmarket relished driving close to the breakdown and Wisbech looked for any chance to move the ball into space where their pace and support running led to frequent scores.

Wisbech Round Table man-of-the-match: Flyhalf Jack Malkin.

Wisbech RUFC send their best wishes to the injured Newmarket player and both clubs thank the ambulance service for the efficient care they provided.

Club captain Olly Mackett commented: “It is fantastic for the club being able to field 40 players this weekend, and I am delighted to see so many young, new and former players making an effort and turning out for the mighty Wildcats. It can only be positive for the club’s future.”

The league season continues on Saturday when Wymondham RFC are the visiting opposition.