Youngsters and vets are Wisbech Wildcats’ derby stars
Ely II 15
Wisbech Wildcats 19
The Wildcats – containing a number of club veterans, a couple of players returning from long layoffs and four young players experiencing their first adult rugby – made the short journey for their third ‘Friday night under the lights’ match.
From the kick-off Ely camped in the Wisbech half.
The Wildcats’ defence stood firm and worked their way into the game.
Impressive back row Patrick Grote made one of his many powerful breaks. With the cover defence closing in on him he found Ben Chapman on his shoulder, who shrugged off two defenders for a 22-metre run to score under the post for a converted try and a 7-0 lead.
Just before half-time Ely scored a well-worked unconverted try, with Wisbech going into the break leading 7-5.
Ely started the first half like they did the first which eventually earned them two unconverted tries to stretch their lead to 15-7.
The Wildcats responded by stringing together a number of phases.
The ball was worked wide to release Ben Goude on the left wing, who crossed for Wildcats’ second try converted by Josh Anderson, taking the score to 15-14.
Both sides were up for it with neither side giving or asking a quarter.
With five minutes to go, Wisbech secured the ball on the half-way line.
Quick ball was worked to the right, veteran David Wadley broke a tackle, offloading to the ever-present Dale Houghton, who found a gap and released Lee Hunt on the right wing. Hunt outpaced the last defender, going over in the corner for a unconverted try and snatching the lead back 19-15.
Wildcats to a man defended for all their worth until the final whistle, earning them their fourth straight win.
Across the park were numerous outstanding performances.
All four of the young players stepped up, while David Wadsley and Dale Houghton in the backs were immense.
In the forwards Ben Chapman, Mark Goude, Adam Curtis, Patrick Grote and Josh Anderson put in a huge shift, but Simon Blackwell for his tireless work rate in his first game in over a year was awarded the Wildcats Round Table Man-of-the-Match.
Chairman Leonard Veenendaal said: “It was a highly entertaining match played in the best of spirit and Wisbech Rugby Club wish to thank Ely for taking on the unscheduled fixture at late notice and their excellent hospitality.
“In particular the performances of the four young lads were encouraging and bodes well for the future.”
Wisbech 1st XV 25
Wisbech travelled to Crusaders on Saturday knowing it would be a different opposition to what they played at home.
In the opening phases Crusaders dominated possession and after a well-worked move scored in the corner to put themselves 5-0 ahead.
The referee was very quick at the breakdown, leading Wisbech to get two penalties to put themselves 6-5 up on the scoreboard.
As the first half developed Wisbech began to get the ascendency with winger James Patrick scoring a converted try to put the score up to 13-5. Wisbech continued their dominance, scoring another two tries to lead Crusaders 25-5.
However, the second half was a different story. Crusaders immediately scored from the kick-off and from there Wisbech struggled to stay in the game.
The points kept flowing for Crusaders and Wisbech were unable to keep hold of the ball without giving away cheap penalties.
Crusaders kept racking up the points, in the last few minutes trailing by a single point, they crossed the line for a converted try to snatch the game away from a disappointed Wisbech, who knew they had let the opportunity for a rare win on the road slip away.
“We need to take on board the lessons from Crusaders and focus on putting it right on Saturday when second-placed in the league Southwold come visiting,” commented club captain Olly Mackett.
l Wisbech host Southwold at Harecroft Road on Saturday for their final league fixture of the season, KO 3pm.
l Wisbech U15 player TJ Biehler-Birch spent his Easter weekend running a tombola and raising an impressive £413 for the RFU Injured Players Foundation in a fantastic effort.
Old Trafford, Manchester, a place normally associated with ballgames provided the start and finish venue for the Manchester Marathon on 8th April. After a hard winter’s training regime, 5 runners from Fenland Running Club together with faithful supporters from the club decided to take on the ultimate running challenge of 26.2 miles in near perfect running conditions. First man home was Martin Jennings in 02:48:21, knocking 6 minutes off his previous best marathon time. Next home was Graham Millham, in 03:13:40, also a PB of 3.5 minutes. First Female home was Bethan Everson in 03:17:04. Next runner to finish was Carol Bowett with a time of 03:53:41, a whopping 37 minutes quicker than her previous best Marathon time. Jane Clarke rounded up proceedings with a superb finish time of 04:16:12. The Marathon season continues next week for Fenland Running Club, with several members running the Boston (UK) Marathon. As the dust settled at Manchester, over at Friskney David Brammer and Jane Greenwood from Fenland Running Club took part in the Half Marathon in Lincolnshire which was a low key race with just 35 participants. David finished 1:41:08, 2nd MV50 category and Jane with 1:54:56, 2nd FV55 category on a fast and flat course.
Press Report: Steve Bennington and Jane Greenwood
Photos: Steve Bennington