Wisbech manoeuvre past Mersea Island as the Eastern Counties Division One title battle hots up

PUBLISHED: 12:36 24 February 2016 | UPDATED: 14:13 24 February 2016

Wisbech RUFC v Mersea Island. Picture: Steve Williams.

Wisbech RUFC v Mersea Island. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

Wisbech made sure they stayed in the hunt for the Eastern Counties Division One title with a hard-fought 24-13 success over a dogged Mersea Island last weekend.

Hosts Wisbech were wary of the threat Mersea posed prior to their meeting, as the side from Essex had condemned fellow title contenders Wymondham to a shock defeat earlier in the month, but Leonard Veenendaal’s men knew a win was vital if they were to maintain their title challenge, and raced into a 12-0 lead thanks to two tries from Sam Anderson.

Mersea have proved to the division’s big boys that they are no push-overs this term, and they responded well to going behind with a converted try of their own.

Wisbech wobbled before half time and were reduced to 14 men, and the visitors sensed a way back into the tie.

The hosts had to dig deep in the second half after another of their players was sent to the sin bin, but Wisbech’s resolute defensive display kept Mersea at bay, but for a solitary penalty.

Mersea failed to make their men advantage count, and once Wisbech were back to full strength it was business as usual, with the hosts touching down twice to extend their lead.

With a bonus point in the bag, Wisbech’s discipline slipped once again as another player was sent to the sin bin, but the third-placed side held their ground to grind out an important win as the Eastern Counties campaign enters its final months.

Ely Tigers still sit at the top of the league after their win against Woodbridge, with Wymondham two points behind them in second and Wisbech in third.

Five points behind separate Wisbech from the Tigers, but Veenendaal’s men have a game in hand – which former Wisbech coach Cliff Humphreys thinks could prove pivotal.

He said: “Both Wymondham and Ely also recorded bonus point victories at the weekend to maintain their advantage over us, but we still have a game in hand. It looks like the championship is going to go to the wire.”

Wisbech will look to add a sixth consecutive league win when they travel to face Thetford on March 5.


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