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Injury-hit Wisbech 1st XV field eight changes in rugby loss to fourth in Eastern Counties 3 League Thetford

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Wisbech, coming off the back of a heavy defeat to Cantabrigian the week before, welcomed and lost to fourth in the league Thetford, who were looking to put back to back wins together and try to close the gap to third place Ely.

On a fine, dry but cold afternoon, Wisbech 1st XV injury woes continued to take its toll presenting selection headaches of the worst kind ahead of the match with Andy Claydon, Raimondas Vinskna and Dan Di Meo all joining the ever growing list of injured players ahead of the clash.

Wisbech fielded eight changes.

Wisbech vs Thetford 180120. (27190642)
Wisbech vs Thetford 180120. (27190642)

Notably in the backs where director of rugby Leonard Veenendaal was forced to call on scrum-half James Fear and winger Alex Watson, both currently away at university.

Fear stood in at fly half, and Watson at inside centre, partnered at outside centre by another winger Henrikus Stankus and back-row Matt Cunningham filling in on the wing.

Veenendaal said: "Injuries forced our hand to put in a call on Friday to James and Alex who are currently away at university and have not trained or played with us for more than two seasons.

"Both of them made huge personal sacrifices to answer their club's SOS and even filling in out of position for which we are very grateful."

On a day ideal for running rugby, the first half Wisbech were the dominant side playing all the rugby but were unable to finish several try scoring opportunities. A clinical Thetford took their limited chances to score a converted try and a penalty to go into half time 10-0 ahead leaving Wisbech scratching their heads.

Wisbech started the second half looking to cut out the errors confident of fighting their way back into the match but a rejuvenated Thetford found new momentum as Wisbech were punished for their old Achilles heel, poor discipline.

Nattachit Hunt saw yellow and the final nail in the Wisbech coffin, the red card sin binning of influential player Bradley Williams, saw Thetford score another penalty and two tries to close out the match out 25-0 to the visitors.

Sam Anderson named the Wisbech Round Table man of the match. (27190640)
Sam Anderson named the Wisbech Round Table man of the match. (27190640)

Sam Anderson who was solid in defence all afternoon with no less than three try saving tackles was named the Wisbech Round Table man of the match.

To compound the Men in Red's misery they are sweating on two more injuries ahead of the Beccles match: Henrikus Stankus with a hamstring problem and Nathaniel Humphreys on his first match after return from a six-week ankle injury, who injured the same ankle again.

Both were forced to leave the field in the second half.

Veenendaal said “We started strongly but our lack of team cohesion and sticking to our game plan saw us failing to converted the several scoring opportunities into points. The yellow and ultimately the red card cost us dearly and it turned out to be a long painful afternoon.

"Credit to the boys for sticking at it, a big thank you to the James Fear, Alex Watson and Olly Mackett for answering their club’s SOS and stepping up to the plate.”

"With the growing injury list and availability of several players we could not buy a win with the wave of bad luck we riding, but it’s an important week, we must learn our lessons, put this game behind us and bounce back when we travel to bottom of the league Beccles on Saturday."

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