Strong first half wind works in Holt’s favour in Wisbech's 22-12 defeat
Wisbech 1st XV suffered a tough defeat at Holt on Saturday afternoon, losing 22-12 to the Greene King London 3 Eastern Counties league leaders.
A strong wind worked in Holt’s favour in the first half and it was ten minutes into the game before Wisbech ventured deep into in the Holt half.
Unfortunately for the 'Men in Red' attacking, a pass along the back line was intercepted by Holt’s full back, Geoff Flather who had a clear run to the line.
Realising he did not have the pace to outstretch the Wisbech center James Napier who had turned around and chased him down, he offloaded to Ben Reedman for a converted try to give Holt a 7-0 lead.
Holt then exerted sustained pressure and Holt captain Ashley Woods crashed over the Wisbech line from short range. This was followed by a trademark blind side break by Holt scrum-half Bruce van Poortvliet for a try in the corner to take a 17-0 lead into the break.
From the restart of the second half with the wind at their backs, Wisbech fought their way back into the game.
The forward pack, which included Wisbech Round Table man-of-the-match David Wadsley at flanker, who worked tirelessly in attack and defence for the full 80 minutes – as well as 18 year-olds Luke Green and William Lankfer in the front row – started to gain territory through good clinical phase play and driving mauls putting Holt on the back foot.
It was no more than Wisbech deserved when scrum Harry Newman darted through the gap to open Wisbech's scoring with a try five minutes after the interval.
There followed a contest of attrition as Wisbech's defence prevented Holt from playing their preferred open game.
Midway through the second half Holt put the result beyond doubt. The Holt left wing picked up a speculative Wisbech kick ahead in his own 22 and ran at the oncoming Wisbech defence. Poor defence allowed him to beat several Wisbech defenders before the ball was passed to right wing Henry Flower who completed the 80-metre counter attack with a try in the corner to stretch the home side's lead to 22-5.
But Wisbech’s spirits were not dampened as they continued to put Holt under pressure. Raimondas Vinksna scored a wonderful try that capped off an excellent attacking move. Newman converted to bring the score to 22-12.
Wisbech battled hard throughout the remaining minutes but could not break down the resolute Holt defence.
Speaking after the game, Wisbech director of rugby Leonard Veenendaal said: “Credit to Holt, they had their chances and they took them.
“It was an incredibly physical game, two Holt tries against the run of play made the difference, the score did not reflect how competitive and close this game was considering we did manage to win the second half.
“It’s fair to say we had a number of chances which we did not take and put away and that is disappointing.
"Today we go that lesson in that ruthless edge. We made our own problems and that’s not good enough but we have some positives to take from the result.”
Credit to head coach Nico Steenkamp for the hard work and preparation put in during the week and to all eighteen players for an incredible display of commitment, pride and passion for the shirt."
Wisbech 1st XV return to action in the new year on January 5 when they host Thurston at Harecroft Road.
Wisbech 1st XV: 15. Paulius Tamoliunas, 14. James Patrick, 13. Shane Vickers, 12. James Napier, 11. Raimondas Vinksna, 10. Jack Malkin, 9. Harry Newman, 8. Pat Grote, 7. Solomon Prestidge (c), 6. David Wadsley, 5. Henry Lankfer, 4. Nathan Goodale, 3. Nico Steenkamp, 2. Will Lankfer, 1. Luke Green. Replacements: 16. Jeff Wilson, 17. Jason Luffman, Ollie Lake.