Despite scoring seven tries Wisbech on back foot for majority of the game
Using a makeshift pack and down to seven backs due to an injury and unavailability, Wisbech 1st XV suffered a tough defeat at Thetford on Saturday, 77-43 in the last league match of the season.
Despite scoring seven tries, Wisbech were on the back foot for the majority of the game, with Thetford showing their dominance throughout.
However, the Wisbech side showed grit and determination to push back right to the end. It took seven minutes for the first score, when the Thetford wing rounded off a strong attacking move and the hosts quickly raced to 21-0.
Wisbech responded positively, a trademark of this new look side, and after a series of carries, Nico 'the hippo' Steenkamp powered his way over from 5m. Malkin continued his fine form, converting from the tightest of angles.
With the score at 21-5, Steenkamp again on hand for his second try showing incredible determination to get over the line and score to cap off an excellent attacking move, Malkin converted to reduce the Thetford lead.
Then came a wave of Thetford power and dominance. Thetford sealed a try bonus-point ahead of half time, giving Thetford a comfortable 33-14 margin over the away side.
The second half saw supremacy from the home side as they built a lead of 52-14. Wisbech would not be disheartened though and their spirit and will saw them battle until the end.
Wisbech skipper Solomon Prestidge scored a hat trick and Jack Malkin deputising at scrum-half produced a spectacular belly flop dive for his converted try.
Thetford would score again but Wisbech gave it to the last, with the masterful grandmaster Shane Vickers scoring in the dying embers of the game to leave the score at 77-43.
Speaking after the match, director of rugby Leonard Veenendaal said: "It was a tough day at the office but I have to thank and commend those players who stepped in at the 11th hour and to a man the team gave it their all.
"There were several players who stood out, no less, skipper Solomon Prestidge, player-coach Nico Steenkamp, veteran Jon Turner along with Jeff Wilson and veteran Mark Goude but Martin Day epitomised the Wisbech never-say-die attitude with a superb all round performance earning him the Wisbech Round Table man of the match award."
Wisbech Wildcats will next be in action when they travel to Mildenhall & Red Lodge RUFC in the County Vase semi-final on Saturday, followed by the final for the Jack Arch Cup at March Rugby Club on Saturday, April 20.
Wisbech scorers. Tries: Prestidge (3), Steenkamp (2), Malkin, Vickers. Cons: Malkin (4).