Wisbech 20pts, Upminster 15pts
WISBECH toppled London N3 League leaders Upminster at Chapel Road on Saturday in a very entertaining match.
Ben Wicks, Neil Hunt and Tom Long made their first starts of the season for Wisbech and hooker Nathaniel Humphreys was back too, but missing were Tom Martell, Ben Chapman and scrum half Andy Claydon (ankle injury). Mark Laws went in at scrum half and stalwart Ricky Harnwell was on the bench to provide backs cover.
Upminster, a very will drilled team, proved to be a tough nut to crack and certainly had the best of the opening exchanges, and on 15 minutes they finally broke through the home defence to score a converted try.
Wisbech rallied and with Wicks looking sharp at the break down and they started to move the ball wide. As they pushed forward a Mark Laws penalty reduced the arrears.
The game ebbed and flowed as both sides tried to play their own game, but both teams defensive lines looked secure. A further penalty by Laws made 7-6, but just before half-time the visitors slotted over a penalty to make the half-time score 10-6 in their favour.
At the start of the second half Wisbech used the new rolling substitute rule to their advantage and brought on replacement props Ali Comben and Kerrie McMullen. The fresh legs stabilised the scrum and from a breakdown within the visitors 22-metre line Wicks picked up the ball and powered his way over the line to score a valuable try. Laws added the extra points.
Wisbech enjoyed their best spell of the match as shortly after centre Neil Hunt powered his way through the defence to score Wisbech’s second try with Laws adding the conversion.
Now they had now taken control of the game and forced the visitors into a number of handling errors, however, Upminster were able to raise their game in the final quarter scoring a late try, but Wisbech held on to take the spoils.
Wisbech manager Cliff Humphreys said: “The Upminster coach complained that his team had not played well as the visitors were clearly disappointed that they had lost. Perhaps it was because we did not allow them to settle. “Upminster certainly looked the part with the ball in hand, but once we made a few tackles and pushed them back they did not look so comfortable.
“We certainly have a fighting spirit here at Wisbech as every player again played their part.”
Wisbech travel to Wansted this Saturday and training continues on Wednesday night 7pm sharp.