RUGBY: Newman makes prolific return as Wisbech are defeated but far from disgraced against top side

Wisbech in action against Oakham earlier this season.

Wisbech in action against Oakham earlier this season. - Credit: Archant

Wisbech’s first London Division Three Eastern Counties clash of 2018 ended in a narrow defeat last Saturday.

But the Fenland side were rewarded for an impressive performance with a bonus point after pushing unbeaten title-chasers Stowmarket hard in a 24-19 loss.

Wisbech welcomed back full-back Harry Newman after a knee injury and he was responsible for all of their points. Winger Craig Ruegg, who is back home from university, also fetured and Wisbech gave a first start to young winger Harry Smith, who impressed during his debut.

Stowmarket opened the scoring with a first try against the run of play, but were unable to convert and Wisbech recovered well after going behind, striking back with two penalties, both kicked by Newman.

Wisbech’s bright spell continued when Newman picked up and drove over for an unconverted score.

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Stowmarket replied with a late first-half try, which wasn’t converted, and took advantage of a missed tackle close to a ruck to turn the tables, giving them a 17-11 lead at the break.

The Visitors made the most of their spell with a one-man advantage to further increase their advantage, before Newman kicked his third penalty of the match to reduce the deficit to ten points.

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Newman bagged a late unconverted try but it wasn’t enough to prevent his side from suffering a losing start to 2018, with Wisbech beaten but by no means disgraced.

There were several contenders in the Wisbech team for the Round Table man-of-the-match award, but it was given to Nathan Goodale for his forceful ball carrying and determined tackling.

Newman’s fine points tally on his return and Raimondas Vinksna’s impressive display ensured they were both worthy contenders for the award.

Wisbech travel to West Norfolk, who are currently one place and three points better off than them in the standings, this Saturday (3pm).

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