EXCLUSIVE: ‘Broken thumb made me consider quitting’ - Long’s relief at Wisbech return

PUBLISHED: 09:00 03 February 2012

Wisbech Rugby Club v Woodbridge

Wisbech Rugby Club v Woodbridge


RETURNING Wisbech Rugby Club captain Tom Long has revealed that his four-month lay-off with a broken thumb forced him to consider quitting the sport.

‘We need his experience’

VICE-CAPTAIN Shane Vickers says the return of Tom Long has given the club a massive boost as they gear up for a crucial fortnight.

Wisbech face high-flying Harwich & Dovercourt tomorrow before travelling to London Exiles in the quarter-final of the Junior Vase on February 11.

Vickers said: “Tom is one of the older heads and we need that experience. It’s great to have him on board for the younger guys to look up to.

“Even though he’s been injured, he’s still been a big influence throughout the season, helping me out behind the scenes.

“He’s a leader on the pitch and he’s also a leader off it.”

Long, who has spent 11 years at Harecroft Road, made his first appearance since September in Wisbech’s 77-3 mauling of Woodbridge on Saturday.

The 31-year-old, who was also sidelined for three months last season, said that although the injuries had raised doubts about his future in the game, it was a relief to be back on the pitch.

“It did cross my mind to stop playing,” he said. “In the immediate aftermath of an injury like that you question everything and you go through things in your mind.

“I did have some discussions behind closed doors about maybe giving it up but I know myself that I feel strong again now.

‘First name on the team sheet’

COACH Ben McCall has welcomed the return of his skipper – claiming that Wisbech have missed his leadership and enthusiasm.

McCall said: “His strong leadership around the park and his enthusiasm have been missed and it’s good to have him back. Everyone was glad to have him bossing them around again!

“Tom has real strength of character and his desire to see Wisbech Rugby Club do well knows no bounds. His attitude alone makes him the first name on most team sheets.

“I’m hoping he’ll be actively involved with our plans for the rest of the season.”

“It seemed to me that the only real way I was going to know if I could play rugby again was to actually do it.

“I don’t want to just quit and disappear with an injury. I want to make that decision myself rather than be forced into it.”

Wisbech toasted their captain’s return by running in 13 tries in Saturday’s demolition of lowly Woodbridge.

The Greene King Eastern Counties Division One strugglers failed to cope with the pace of full back Joe Barfoot as he scored five scintillating tries.

Jon Turner (2), Nathaniel Humphreys, Phil Martell, Graham Saunders, James Napier, Tom Martell and the newly-signed James Hodgson also crashed over as second-placed Wisbech romped to victory.

Long said: “There’s a good feeling around the club at the moment and I’ve never been the best spectator when I’m injured. I’ve been watching the games and it’s safe to say I would rather have been involved.

“I’ve watched all the Junior Vase matches, except the Billericay game, where I was living it all through text messages!”

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