Wisbech completed a league double over Crusaders on Saturday in a highly-charged encounter at home.
In the first quarter Wisbech played some excellent team rugby, taking an early lead when winger Shane Vickers went over in the corner.
Unfortunately as the game went on Wisbech lost their discipline at the breakdown, conceding a string of penalties which released the pressure on the opposition and allowed them back into the game.
However before half-time and from a ruck within the Crusaders’ five-metre line Nathan Goodale crashed over and with Steve Priest adding the conversation the home team eased into 12-0 half-time lead.
In the second half Crusaders used the wind advantage to kick the ball deep into Wisbech’s half.
This allowed home back division to counter and run the ball back at pace, but centre De la Rey Veenendaal marshalled the counter attacks well.
Goodale was sent to the sin bin for a late tackle, and with a man down in the pack Crusaders forced Wisbech back.
The referee awarded the visitors a penalty try as the seven-man Wisbech pack came under pressure at a five-metre scrum and with the conversion Crusaders were now back in the game at 12-7.
Shortly after and still down to 14 men a superb driving maul on half way by Wisbech took the ball deep into Crusader half and from the ruck scrum half Andy Claydon slotted over a drop goal to make the score 15-7.
Prop Raimondas Vinksna went over and with Priest adding the extra points Wisbech should have looked to control the game in the final 10 minutes and to add a try bonus point but, after Crusaders scored a unconverted try, Wisbech once again lost their discipline.
Jacob Goat was sin binned and with five minutes to go Vinksna was sent off for throwing a punch.
Fortunately the 13 Wisbech players left on the field held out to the final whistle although Crusaders slotted over a late penalty to secure a losing bonus point. Debutant prop James Bostock had a solid performance.
“Although Wisbech posted a victory I was disappointed with our performance,” said coach Leonard Veenendaal. “I expect the highest standards from my players.”
Wisbech do not have a fixture next weekend and their next outing is against Newmarket away on March 21 in the league. Training will continued on Wednesday and Friday evenings.