MATCH REPORT: Ruthless Wisbech kickstart Twickenham dream with 37-10 victory
Junior Vase Second Round: Wisbech 37 Old Brentwoods 10
WISBECH Rugby Club took the first step towards realising their Twickenham dream today after they tore Old Brentwoods to shreds at Harecroft Road.
The Essex side failed to cope with Wisbech’s attacking rugby as they notched up five tries to start their Junior Vase campaign in emphatic fashion with a 37-10 win.
Crash centre Jon Turner continued his incredible early-season form with two tries while Shane Vickers, Joe Barfoot and Ben Chapman also went over. Full back Mark Laws sealed the victory with five successful kicks.
Coach Ben McCall said: “It was a fantastic win. It was always going to be a difficult game as they were an unknown quantity.
“When we played our running rugby - how we like to play the game - we were all over them. It was clear to see that we were the better side when we played our game.
“Our number one aim is to have an unbeaten season in the league but we will do our best to go as far as we can in the cup.
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“We’re at the top end of the competition and we’re capable of playing this standard of rugby and even higher so there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t get to the final at Twickenham.”
Wisbech looked like a team determined to achieve just that as they started today’s second round clash at a canter.
Winger Barfoot’s clever kick and chase immediately put the home side in an attacking position and Old Brentwoods had to be alert to haul down James Napier yards from the line.
Wisbech’s forwards also looked fired-up and, after winning a big scrum against the head in the 10th minute, they secured a penalty within kicking distance. Laws stepped up to dispatch his first kick of the afternoon and give Wisbech a deserved 3-0 lead.
But things quickly got even better for the hosts when an electric break from Laws caught the visitors cold. The ball passed through the hands of Barfoot and fly-half Will Pettit before stand-in captain Vickers completed a breathtaking first try. Laws failed to convert.
Old Brentwoods looked shell-shocked as scrum-half Andy Claydon and fly-half Pettit continued to give them the run-around with their clever distribution.
But it was the powerful Turner who grabbed Wisbech’s next score with a move he started and finished.
The centre powered his way out of his own half before a fantastic offload released Barfoot. Turner continued his support run and was on hand to pick up the ball moments later, crashing over for his first of the afternoon.
Laws slotted the conversion to give his side a 15-0 lead as Wisbech looked like they might run riot.
But the second try of the day seemed to spark the visitors into life and Wisbech saw their own defence tested in a hard-fought passage of play before the break.
A stunning last-ditch tackle from Pettit saved a certain try before big hits from Napier and flanker Tom Martell helped ensure Old Brentwoods had nothing to show for their first-half effort.
The interval allowed Wisbech to rally their troops and the home side’s renewed energetic approach soon led to more points.
Barfoot, who was proving a constant danger, crashed over in the 44th minute but the speedy winger owed much to the nimble handling of prop forward Andy Heighton.
Heighton looked more like a centre than a prop as he delayed his pass perfectly - drawing the tacklers to leave Barfoot in the clear. Laws converted to put Wisbech 22-0 up.
Again it looked as though Wisbech might run away with it, but a combination of sloppy handling errors and stubborn defence prevented the home side from turning their triumph into a massacre.
And the visitors were rewarded for their dogged defence when, shortly after the hour-mark, they scored a neat try with a fluent move of their own. A missed conversion left the score at 22-5.
But the comeback never looked likely and Wisbech went in search of more points with props Heighton and Dave Lamacraft battering holes in the tiring visiting defence. Turner was held up over the line before Laws kicked his second penalty of the day.
The Harecroft Road crowd were treated to more stunning fast-paced rugby as Wisbech sealed their win with two late scores.
Napier’s rapid break began a move which saw the ball travel through five pairs of hands before second-row Chapman crashed over and Turner capped a brutal display with his second try of the day, which was easily converted by Laws.
Old Brentwoods scored a last-minute try of their own but Wisbech were left celebrating at the final whistle - coasting into the third round with the 37-10 win.
“We’re built around running rugby,” said McCall. “We’ve got a very young, fast pack who like to run with the ball. When the forwards get their hands on the ball they love going for it.
“There were moves today with six or seven passes involving both forwards and backs. When you see a prop making key passes like Andy Heighton did, it’s just brilliant.
“We like to keep the ball alive. We’ve got the players to throw the ball about and run at teams - now let’s do it.”
Wisbech, who have won all of their league games so far this season, will find out who they face in the third round of the Junior Vase on Wednesday night.