West Norfolk 8pts,
Wisbech got back to winning ways on Saturday at local rivals West Norfolk in their final match of 2011.
Wisbech had selection problems with six regular squad players not available due to holidays and injuries. Captain Shane Vickers worked tirelessly all week and in the end Wisbech called up Nigel Hunt and James Comben for their first starts this season. Wisbech also gave debuts to Richard Pearson, second row and Nicholas Thomsett, winger. Graham Saunders and Will Pettit were carrying injuries.
The game kicked off at 3pm as West Norfolk had invited former England and Wasps back row Joe Worsley to a luncheon. Wisbech looked sharper than the home side. Within five minutes of the kick off Wisbech’s back line moved the ball at pace, Shane Vickers crossing the line in the corner, Andy Claydon narrowly missing a difficult conversion.
A powerful passage of play by the visitors’ pack pushed West Norfolk back and their defence was again breached on 10 minutes when hooker Nathaniel Humphreys went over from close range. The game was virtually won on 15 minutes when inside centre Hunt crashed over the line to give Wisbech a 15-0 lead.
Shortly after Andy Clayton, who had replaced the injured Mark Laws in the kicking department, found his range with a penalty.
On 35 minutes and with Wisbech guilty of a loss of concentration West stole in for a try but another Claydon penalty eased Wisbech to a 21-5 half-time lead.
A dead leg to new recruit Pearson, who looked to be a class player, meant that Wisbech were forced to reshuffle their pack early in the second half and with Saunders breaking down, Charlie Roberts and Mark Griffin came off the bench.
Pettit, carrying an ankle injury, came on for the final 20 minutes. Wisbech spent most of the second half within West Norfolk’s half looking for the fourth try to seal a valuable bonus point only to be thwarted by some strange refereeing decisions. Joe Barfoot made some telling breaks from full back while a player from each side were yellow carded.
Prop Dave Lamacraft touched the ball down as he surged through a number of bodies only to be judged as having been held up. When the players got up it was clear that he had touched the ball down cleanly. West got a penalty midway through the half but Wisbech ran out worthy winners.
“This game could have been a banana skin for us,” said manager Cliff Humphreys. “Being forced to reshuffle the side as much as we did and against a side who had won their previous seven games gave the management a few headaches.
“A big thank you must go to the lads who stepped in and also to the lads who played carrying injuries. Young Nicky Thomsett was called in minutes before kick off as Josh Seale broke down in the warm up.
“The only disappointment this week was the numbers who attended training on Thursday night. Both club coach Ben Mcall and I hope that numbers will increase in the new year as the club strives for honours in the league and Vase.”
Wisbech are at home to Ely on January 7 followed by an away trip to Broadlands in Yarmouth before the Vase home tie against Billericay on January 21. Training on January 5 will very important.