RUGBY UNION: Wisbech leave it late to secure fourth straight league success

Oliver Mackett (in red) turned in a man-of-the-match performance as Wisbech as his side secured their fourth straight league success with a 21-15 win at Colchester 3rds.

Oliver Mackett (in red) turned in a man-of-the-match performance as Wisbech as his side secured their fourth straight league success with a 21-15 win at Colchester 3rds.

Archant

Head coach Leonard Veenendaal has described Wisbech's 21-15 victory over Colchester 3rds as the "grittiest performance he has ever seen" in rugby.

The Wisbech first-team squad. Back L-R:  James Patrick, Lewis Haddon, Jake Jackson, Oliver Mackett (c), Ben Chapman, Alex Pink, Connor Lucas, Jeff Wilson, Noah Newton.
Front L-R: Luke Hare (medic), Martin Day, Ollie Lake, Sam Anderson, Ethan Garford, David Brodie, James Napier, Nick Thompsett.The Wisbech first-team squad. Back L-R: James Patrick, Lewis Haddon, Jake Jackson, Oliver Mackett (c), Ben Chapman, Alex Pink, Connor Lucas, Jeff Wilson, Noah Newton. Front L-R: Luke Hare (medic), Martin Day, Ollie Lake, Sam Anderson, Ethan Garford, David Brodie, James Napier, Nick Thompsett.

The men in red turned in a backs-to-the-wall display to secure their fourth straight Eastern Counties success last weekend, leaving it until the dying minutes to score their third and final try and seal the points.

James Napier touched down the only try of the first half and Lewis Haddon notched a second just minutes after the Essex side had scored their first try of the afternoon in the second period.

Colchester replied once more, before turning the game on its head and taking the lead with only five minutes to play.

Falling behind seemed to kick Wisbech into life, and James Patrick surged through and Sam Anderson converted with only seconds remaining to seal a dramatic victory.

Veenendaal said: “Any win is precious but a win on the road with all the odds stacked against you is really rewarding.

“It was an outstanding effort from all 16 of the players who put their bodies on the line and played with such passion. Anyone could have been named man-of-the-match, particularly the young boys, Jake Jackson and Ethan Garford.

“The players and I awarded the Wisbech Round Table man-of-the-match award to talisman and captain Oliver Mackett for his outstanding captaincy and leading by example.

“Our good discipline, positive never-say-die attitude and some incredible captaincy secured a much-needed win. In all my years as a player and coach with Wisbech I have never witnessed a grittier, more determined performance than that.”

Wisbech’s recent form has fired them to within six points of fifth-placed Woodbridge in the Eastern Counties Division One standings, and they will hope to close that gap even further with a win over Bury St Edmunds 3rds on March 25.

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