An extremely disappointing start to 2014 by Wisbech Rugby Club’s first team as they failed to secure a much needed victory by taking advantage of the home tie against Wanstead who had travelled up from North London.
Coach Leonard Veenendaal had worked tirelessly in the week prior to the game by arranging three training sessions.
“I was very disappointed with the lack of commitment by some of the senior squad players who feel that they do not need to attend training and just turn up to play the game,” he said.
“Rugby is a tactical team game and you need to established a game plan prior to any game and this can only be done with a full attendance of the squad at training.
“In the past two games against Cantabs prior to Christmas and against Wanstead on Saturday we were beaten by sides who clearly worked to their game plan.
“It is very frustrating as when we did have a full squad training session prior to the match against Sudbury we played as a unit and secured a great victory.”
The heavy rain on Saturday morning stopped just before kick off and the game was played in very heavy conditions. A slippery ball prevented any coherent rugby but Wanstead appeared to cope with conditions better than the home side and it was clear that their game plan was to keep the ball tight within their forwards and to wear Wisbech down.
Wisbech failed to win quick ball but on the occasions when the home backs did have ball in hand they looked impressive. Wanstead scored a penalty and a converted try but Wisbech rallied and from a fast backs move Sam Anderson went over to reduce the arrears at half-time to 5-10.
Wisbech started the second half well and went close many times but a penalty by Andy Claydon was all they had to show for it. Wisbech were unlucky to concede a try when after a solid attacking run by winger Joe Barfoot the ball was split and the Wanstead centres found themselves in space and with a two-on-one against the Wisbech defensive player scored under the posts. A missed tackle saw the visitors score a third try.
Wisbech are at Upminster on Saturday.
“There is not much I can add,” said club manager Cliff Humphreys. “The senior players wanted the club to provide a full time coach who was committed to training and to watch every game and to work with them to improve the standard of rugby at the club.
“The club obliged. Leonard is a top coach and the players need to respond to him.”
l Clockwise from above by Adam Fairbrother (Wisbech in red): MFCP14AF01060, MFCP14AF01063, MFCP14AF01071, MFCP14AF01066, MFCP14AF01059, MFCP14AF01064.