Last gasp try helps Wisbech to morale-boosting victory
London 3 North East League: Wisbech 15 Basildon 10
WISBECH scored a stunning last minute try to return to winning ways with an emphatic victory over high-flying Basildon.
Tries from full back Joe Barford, winger James Napier and and a last-gasp effort from man of the match Ben Chapman secured the points as Wisbech won 15-10 in front of a good crowd at Harecroft Road.
It was a much needed win for the first XV, who had started the day third from bottom in their London 3 North East League after losing their last three games.
Captain Tom Long said: “It’s been a long time coming and we’ve worked really hard for it. We are a team with a lot of character and we have been unlucky with our last couple of performances. We showed a lot of heart today.
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“It was a really good performance from the boys and I’m very proud of them. Ben Chapman led from the front and deserved his man of the match. He got his just deserts with that final try.
“But for the bounce of the ball and the rub of the green it would have been a few more points - but we’ll take any win at the moment.”
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Wisbech started the game on the back foot, with Basildon forcing them into some stubborn defence in the first 10 minutes.
But the home side, who looked comfortable running from deep in their own half, gradually began to grow in confidence and it was they who took the lead after 15 minutes.
Quick hands allowed Napier to escape down the wing and he fed the ball inside to Barford, who crashed over under the posts.
Wisbech missed the conversion but continued to pile on the pressure, with the pace of Napier and the clever kicking of fly-half Will Pettit causing problems to the visitors.
But the home side failed to convert this pressure into points and Basildon were still very much in the game, 5-0 down at half time.
The second half began in scrappy fashion but it was not long before Wisbech began to assert themselves once more.
Quick ball and good handling from the backs freed Napier whose pace took him clear of the Basildon defence to put his side 10-0 up. The conversion was again missed.
Basildon, who had offered little going forward up, suddenly began to find a foothold in the game.
Pressure on the Wisbech scrum led to a penalty, which was duly slotted to make the score 10-3 and set up a tense last five minutes.
The visitors continued their assault on the Wisbech line and they were rewarded two minutes from time when a long series of phases exhausted the home side’s defence, resulting in a score under the posts.
This was swiftly converted to leave the scores level at 10-10, with the game seemingly destined for a draw.
But Wisbech had the final say in the dying seconds, when a sweeping team move resulted in Chapman crashing over to seal a morale-boosting victory.
“Make no mistake this was a tough team,” said Long. “They are second in the league and we had to work very hard.
“We were very good at holding on to the ball, which is something we’ve worked on. We hit the rucks and frustrated them and they didn’t have the ball for long periods of the match. We were unlucky not to have won it by more really.
“It has been a disappointing start to the season but the aim has always been for consolidation. We want to stay in this league.
“We are looking to appoint a new professional coach at the end of this season, so we want to consolidate and then really get the club moving forward.”
Wisbech begin their Senior Vase campaign next week when they will entertain Barnet Elizabethans at Harecroft Road.