Depleted Wisbech exit Junior National Vase despite valiant effort at Pegasus

Wisbech Rugby v Pegasus.

Wisbech Rugby v Pegasus. - Credit: Archant

Wisbech coach Leonard Veenendaal says his priority this season is to put “commitment, pride and passion” into the club.

Due to player unavailability, the club came close to, for the first time in its history, not honouring a fixture. The club would have been fined and barred from entering national competitions for two years.

As a result, the Wisbech Wildcats had to cancel its fixture. Even then, only 17 players made the trip to Pegasus Palmerians in the first round of the Junior National Vase.

Wisbech struck first - Sam Anderson managed to disrupt the opposition ball, then veteran and skipper on the day Pete Lankfer scooped up the loose ball and with a nice dummy pass beat the last defender to score, Mark Laws converted the try.

But Wisbech’s lack of game time together showed and the hosts exploited tired legs, running out 29-7 winners.

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Veenendaal said: “To the man every Wisbech player played their hearts out and individually played well, by no means did they let themselves, club or town down.

“Our cause was not helped when our centre young Will Borham sustained an ankle injury, with our only two substitutes both being forwards having to replace him in the midfield. But all credit to Pegasus, in the end the better team on the day won.

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“On the whole every player did their bit but Jamie Parsons on his debut in the lock position and only his second first team appearance along with Ben Chapman, Peter Lankfer, Josh Anderson, and Albert Smith deserve a mention.

“For his tireless work in defence and unselfish play with ball in hand our man-of-the-match goes to Sam Anderson.

“Wisbech not being able to field its strongest side has been or age old Achilles heel which has ended our national Junior Vase ambitions, now all focus has to be on the league.”

Veenendaal says the players should see representing their club as “an honour and privilege”.

He said: “My primary focus and ambition is to continue to develop the younger players and rebuilding the squad. Selection will not automatically be the best players but based on my ethos of commitment, pride and passion, something we as a club are low on and I for one with the committee are determined to put back in the club.

“Players putting their hands up to play for Wisbech have a responsibility to their fellow players, the club, sponsors, supports and the their town.

“Pulling on the red shirt and representing Wisbech is an honour and privilege, where we end up in the league is now down to the players and how much they embrace the ethos.”

On Saturday the first XV are home to Swaffham in the league, with the Wildcats travelling to Sawston (both matches 2.30 pm kick off.)

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