Wisbech 1st XV secure first London 3 Eastern Counties win at home for 2020 over Thurston at Harecroft Road
Wisbech 1st XV secured their first London 3 Eastern Counties win at home for 2020 with a 28-17 bonus-point win over Thurston at Harecroft Road on Saturday.
With both sides heading into the game with huge expectations, Thurston Rangers – sixth in the league – were set on doing the double over tenth placed Wisbech, the Men in Red suffering a heavy 50-7 defeat at Thurston back in October.
Thurston had managed an impressive 32-all draw with high flying Thetford, who had two weeks ago humbled Wisbech on their home ground 25-0.
Rangers looked to build on last week’s performance against Thetford with a win. Wisbech took heart from the reinforcements to their squad and some key players returning from injury looked to build on their hard earned 10-8 away win last week at Beccles.
Tries from Henry Lankfer, Raimondas Vinksna, Mickey Watts, Marius Steponaitis and Jack Malkin with a perfect kicking display with four from four off the tee ensured the Men in Red came away with the win to keep above the relegation zone.
In the first four minutes, Wisbech dominated the ball, and, after an inspired pass from Jack Malkin, Lankfer running a perfect angle scored a try. Malkin converted to give the hosts a 7-0 lead in the early stages.
But the visitors hit back on 13 minutes through their outside centre Edward Ballam.
Wisbech's Shane Vickers going for and missing the speculative intercept allowed Ballam to exploit the space, to score under the posts. Fly half Jack Rae converted for Thurston to draw the scores level 7-7.
The home side continued to look dangerous from the scrum and were making life difficult for Thurston.
That showed when a dominant Wisbech scrum in the visitors 22 led to a flurry of attacking phases for the Men in Red, and Watts powered his way over the line from five metres out before Malkin added the extras to restore a 14-7 lead.
Wisbech had another try minutes later when another dominant scrum earned them a penalty. In a quick tap the ball was moved through the hands to release right wing 'Rambo' Vinksna to cross the whitewash, Malkin increasing the Men in Red's lead to 21-7.
The windy conditions made it a scrappy start to the second half and with Wisbech now playing into the wind, it would be Wisbech’s defence that would shine in the second half, as Thurston’s ability to bounce back saw them pressurise the home side for most of the second 40-minute period.
After 20 minutes in the second half, the away side struck first. Fly half Rae stuck a penalty in front of the post just outside the Wisbech 22, reducing Wisbech’s lead to 21-10.
It got even better for Veenendaal’s side when they secured the bonus point through Steponaitis in the last minute of the match. Some stunning powerful phases by the forwards put the Men in Red into a good position for the backs to strike, the ball was quickly spun out wide before replacement left wing Steponaitis finished off the move as he stepped his way through for a valuable bonus point try. Malkin converted from the tightest of angles into the wind to give Wisbech an emphatic win.
Henry Lankfer, Vitalijus Truksinas, Andrius Baltuska and Nattachit Hunt all put in big shifts, tighthead Nico Steenkamp making his first appearance this season was hugely influential and skipper David Wadsley led from the front but this was truly a team effort, but by the tightest of margins the Wisbech Round Table man of the match was shared by Mickey Watts and Luke Green for their tireless carries and workman like performance in defence for the full 80 minutes.
Wisbech will enjoy a much needed bye weekend before the return to league action, the 1st XV travelling to Ipswich YM while the Wildcats look to host Mildenhall.
On Sunday, Wisbech hosted Spalding RUFC for under 7's, 8's, 9's 10's 11's and 12's with all the teams truly reflecting the core values of the game, teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.
The Wisbech under 7 squad of nine formed two teams, Tigers & Panthers, to play the visitors from Spalding. All the young players from both clubs deserve praise for coping with the heavy pitches and very muddy balls. The Wisbech youngsters continued to develop their teamwork in defence working hard to make tags. Despite the wet conditions there was lots of good passing which led to team tries and impressive individual efforts. The squad has welcomed 2 new players in recent weeks and the regulars deserve praise for making them welcome and helping them feel part of the team.
Coach Dave Dobson commented: "Many thanks to all the supporters who applauded good play by players from both clubs, and thanks to the Wisbech parents for their help in running the team."
After a well-deserved week off, Wisbech U11’s welcomed Spalding to Harecroft Road. After a brief warm up, the game commenced and it soon became clear that Spalding were a much improved side compared with the last time these two sides met. The Wisbech players were taken aback by Spalding’s initial hold on the game. This solid start allowed Spalding to put the first score on the board. However, Wisbech soon started to find their feet with good ball retention and rapid runs. Consistently accurate passing and offloading by Wisbech helped them to win the first match 5 tries to 3.
The second game started badly for Wisbech when poor decision making led to Spalding scoring the first couple of tries. Determined Wisbech soon picked themselves up and scored three terrific tries.
Good rucking by all players made a significant difference in the second half. Wisbech won the second game by 3 tries to 2.
Special mention to feisty Emily for getting stuck in and getting under the opposition’s skin. Zeeve and Jacob P were noticeable for their committed and effective tackling. Alfie, the newest player, had his best game yet scoring his debut try.