Wisbech 1st XV put in rugby performance to remember by beating Beccles at Beef Meadow
Wisbech 1st XV put in a performance to remember on Saturday when they beat Beccles 10-8 at Beef Meadow in a game that looked out of sight for Leonard Veenendaal’s men in the week building up to the match.
Preparations ahead of the difficult trip for a must-win match were severally hampered when both Nathaniel Humphreys and Dan Di Meo were ruled out mid-week due to injuries and with several players unavailable for selection the Men in Red where facing an uphill battle.
A very unfamiliar looking 1st XV included five Wildcats, eight U18 Colts and three players playing out of position.
Wisbech working their way into the hosts' half but a loose pass saw the hosts turn over possession and return it with interest allowing Beccles to camp in the visitors' half.
Wisbech worked their way out. After a number of phases Beccles infringed at a breakdown and the ensuing penalty goal was well struck by returning fly half Jack Malkin on 12 minutes to give Wisbech a 3-0 lead.
An intense period followed, with both sides battling tirelessly to make ground.
With five minutes to half time, the hosts managed to string some phases of their own together forcing Wisbech on the back foot, however, in spite of some good defence from Wisbech, they unnecessarily infringed at the breakdown, Beccles fly half converted to draw the scores level 3-3.
Beccles started the second half hungry for victory and their intensity tested the Men in Reds’ defence.
Beccles were the first team to make an impact in the second half, scoring a try after 20 minutes arm wrestle, after a sustained piece of Beccles attacking play. The conversion was missed, giving Beccles a 8-3 lead.
However, on the 72nd minute Wisbech made their pressure count when in-form Henry Lankfer took a well-timed pass to break through the defence, handing off the last defender the big second row sprinted 30 meters to score under the post. Malkin made no mistake with the conversion to restore a narrow two-point lead
A tense final eight minutes saw Wisbech come close to killing the game with several fumbles letting them down and Beccles were equally unfortunate not to convert chances of their own, Wisbech held on to their lead for a much needed 10-8 win.
Wisbech director of rugby Veenendaal commented: “This was truly a team effort like I’ve not seen for some time.
“Credit to those players called up and in particular the young players, everyone stepped up to the plate, put their bodies on the line , played for the shirt and for each other.
“The senior players led by example and it was a welcome boost to have Jack Malkin back but a lot of credit has to go to skipper David Wadsley who worked his socks of all week to ensure we are able to field a competitive motivated side and he led with distinction on the pitch.”
Henry Lankfer, Solomon Prestige and Shane Vickers turned in excellent performances but Jack Malkin, returning for his first 1st XV match since September 2019, was outstanding at fly-half, his calm control of the game was the difference earning him the Wisbech Round Table man of the match award.
Wisbech 1st XV are next in action on Saturday when they welcome Thurston to Harecroft Road, kick off 2pm.
Sunday 26 January
Wisbech u18 Colts, short on numbers but boosted by the welcome return of Luke Hare, opted to travel to Wymondham showing true commitment by honouring the fixture.
With a couple of borrowed Wymondham u16 players helping Wisbech out to make up the numbers, the spectators were treated thrilling quality competitive rugby match.
Although going down fighting 24-14, Wisbech Colts can hold their heads high representing their club with commitment, pride, passion and distinction both on and of the pitch.
U18 Colts Wisbech Round Table man of the match was shared by centre Ben Goude and tighthead prop Jack Obey.
Tries: Ben Goude, Jack Obey. Cons: Daniel Evans (2).
The U18 Colts will next be in action on Sunday, February 9 when they host West Norfolk.