Rejuvenated Wisbech hoping for cup glory after last gasp weekend victory

WISBECH Rugby Club first team captain Tom Long has urged his rejuvenated troops to relish their underdog status as they prepare to begin their cup campaign on Saturday.

The first XV take on Barnet Elizabethans at Harecroft Road in the first round of the Senior Vase - a competition which could see them drawn against teams from as high as five leagues above.

But the clash comes at a good time for Wisbech who scored a stunning last minute try to return to winning ways with an emphatic victory over high-flying Basildon last Saturday.

Skipper Tom Long said the pressure was off but the whole team would be inspired by the thought of playing at Twickenham, the venue for next year’s final.

He said: “One of the things that we say at the beginning of any cup run is that this is the crowning glory of the season. It is the ultimate carrot for any rugby player to play at Twickenham.

“It’s not impossible. There is always the chance to get to the final for any team, that’s what so great about the cup.

“At that level you start to come up against some professional players who are paid, whereas we just play for the love of the game.”

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Tries from full back Joe Barford, winger James Napier and and a last-gasp effort from man of the match Ben Chapman saw Wisbech beat second in the league Basildon 15-10 last weekend to secure their first win in four games.

Things had looked ominous for Wisbech when the visitors scored a try in the final minutes to leave the scores tied at 10-10.

But the home side had the final say in the dying seconds, when a sweeping team move resulted in Chapman crashing over to seal a morale-boosting victory.

“It’s a very confident young side,” said Long. “None of them are ever intimidated when they walk out onto that pitch. The smaller guys end up putting in some of the biggest hits.

“I’m 30 years old and they call me the grandad of the back line. It’s refreshing to have such a young side - they are keen and happy to run with the ball.”

Long said the club were hoping to consolidate their position in the league and would be looking to appoint a professional coach towards the end of the season.

“It’s a very positive mindset at the club. The marker was laid down on Saturday and now we are hoping for some consistency.”

Wisbech’s cup campaign kicks off at 2pm at Harecroft Road on Saturday.