VASE FEVER: Football and rugby clubs gear up for huge weekend of Wisbech sport
CUP fever will grip Wisbech tomorrow as the football and rugby clubs stage one of the most important days in the town’s sporting calendar.
Wisbech Town could put themselves within three wins of a Wembley final with victory at the Elgood’s Fenland Stadium while, just over a mile away at Harecroft Road, Wisbech Rugby Club will be bidding to continue their march towards Twickenham.
The Fenmen host Northern League Division One side Dunston UTS in the last 32 of the FA Vase (kick-off 3pm), with the winners set to net �2,000 in prize money.
Wisbech, the only remaining Ridgeons League outfit in the competition, have already seen off Walsham-le-Willows, Racing Club Warwick and Witham Town.
Meanwhile, the rugby club welcome Billericay for their Junior Vase Fourth Round clash (kick-off 2pm). Wisbech cruised past Old Brentwoods and Thetford to earn a third consecutive cup tie in front of their own fans.
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For live match updates from both games follow reporters @RobSetchell and @GavinCaney on Twitter. For match reports and reaction, visit our website on Saturday night.
WISBECH Town boss Steve Appleby has called on his troops to seize the opportunity to make their FA Vase dreams a reality.
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The Fenmen will need to be at their best to beat last year’s quarter-finalists Dunston UTS tomorrow and Appleby is calling for a passionate performance. “It’s going to be all about two things: who performs on the day and who wants it the most,” he said.
“I don’t think it really matters whether you’re in good form or bad form for games like these. There’s no bad side in the last 32, people will raise their games and anyone could win – that’s cup football.
“It’s time to stop dreaming now. It’s time to make it a reality. We need to make the most of this opportunity that we’ve been presented with - not many people have played at Wembley.”
Wisbech’s league clash with Gorleston was postponed due to a frozen pitch on Saturday and the Fenmen were also denied an opportunity to scout tomorrow’s opponents, as Dunston’s fixture fell foul of the icy conditions.
Appleby will be without suspended Callum Reed and cup-tied Ollie Pinner for tomorrow’s clash. Reed will also miss Wisbech’s home Cambs Invitation Cup Quarter Final clash with Haverhill Rovers on Tuesday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
Appleby said: “One thing I know about Wisbech is they love the Vase.”
RELAXED Wisbech Rugby Club coach Ben McCall has told his players they have “nothing to lose” ahead of their crunch Junior Vase clash tomorrow.
Victory over Billericay would put them within four games of reaching a Twickenham final – but McCall insists that winning the league is the club’s main priority.
He said: “The opportunity to play at Twickenham doesn’t come around very often but the league is the most important thing.
“We’ve got nothing to lose in the Vase and everything to gain - most of the players have that feeling.”
A late try from James Napier spared Wisbech’s blushes on Saturday as they beat Greene King Eastern Counties Division One basement boys Broadland & Great Yarmouth 17-11.
Will Pettit and James Griffin crashed over in the first half but Broadland fought back to lead 11-10 with minutes to go. Although Napier’s try - converted by Jon Turner - salvaged the win, Wisbech failed to pick up a bonus point, leaving them three points behind table-topping Cantabrigian.
McCall said: “It wasn’t a comfortable afternoon but it could have been a lot worse.
“Our primary concern has got to be promotion in the league so we can play tomorrow without worry. If we go out it’s not the end of the world.
“If they turn up and play as they can then they can run away with it - there’s nothing they can’t achieve. They could easily win against any of the sides at this level.”
Wisbech Town vs Dunston UTS (Odds courtesy of Wisbech Ladbrokes)
Dunston UTS EVS
• Specials (correct scores/half-time, full time) on request