RUGBY: Wisbech Rugby Club beat rivals West Norfolk at pre-season friendly

Director of Rugby Leonard Veenendaal addressing players at full time. Picture: SUBMITTED

Director of Rugby Leonard Veenendaal addressing players at full time. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

Wisbech Rugby cruised to a 36-14 victory against local rivals West Norfolk on Saturday at Harecroft road playing fields in front of a their home supporters.

The pre-season friendly was the only chance for supporters to see the Men in Red in action at home ahead of Saturday September 8’s season opener against high flying Thetford, and the team did not disappoint.

In the early stages, Wisbech were in the ascendency, deep in the West Norfolk’ half and after several attacking phases the ball was spun wide to right wing Raimondas Vinksna who powered his way over in the corner.

After 10 minutes of pressure, West Norfolk responded, their flyhalf exposing some poor Wisbech tackling dancing his way through the defence and sprint 50 meters for a converted try under the posts to take a 7-5 lead.

Wisbech responded attacking the West Norfolk line, the Wisbech physicality proved to be too much for the West Norfolk defence, on the stroke of half time the impressive Henry Lankfer with a man of the match performance showed his power and awareness to stretch over the line for a well worked try, converted by Any Claydon.

Half-time and the score stood at 12-7 to the hosts.

The second half Wisbech continued where they had left off and 10 minutes in the second half their efforts were rewarded once more, good ball retention and patience rewarded, Ben Wicks bulldozed his way through West defence to stretch the Wisbech lead to 17-7.

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From a penalty Andy Claydon touched the ball down over the line following a quick tap, which he converted himself, and the Men in Red didn’t stop there.

New signing James Fear joined the back line in attack putting through a well weighted grubber kick, young Frank Etherington who had only minutes before come on as a replacement on the right wing gathered, beat his opposite number to sprint clear and on his 1st team debut touch down under the posts, converted by Claydon.

Next on the score board Josh Anderson touched down from a maul, Wisbech were now comfortably leading 29-7.

Wisbech took their foot of the pedal and allowed West Norfolk back into the game to hit back with a try of their own to close the gap to 29-14.

Heading into the final 10 minutes, Wisbech continued to set the pace, Andy Claydon releasing James Napier who stepped the defender to score next to the uprights, converted by Claydon to seal a 36-14 victory.

Henry Lankfer was awarded the Round Table Man-of-the-Match award for an all-round outstanding performance.

Speaking after the match, Director of Rugby Leonard Veenendaal said: “While the result is fantastic, today has been about getting the lads match ready for our first league game of the season.

“It was an incredibly physical game today and I think West Norfolk provided a very tough test for the lads out there.

“Pre-season games are great but what happens on Saturday 8 September here at Harecroft road will be the true test of how far we have come. We have a lot of work to do and it is important players make an effort to be at training.”

Wisbech travel to Deepings Rugby Club for their final pre-season match on Saturday, KO 3pm.

All players are reminded of the importance of training Tuesday and Thursday 7pm