Wisbech Rugby Club kick-start cup campaign with emphatic victory

Wisbech Rugby Club marched into the next round of the Senior Vase with a thrilling win over Barnet Elizabethans on Saturday.

Full back Mark Laws was the hero, scoring 13 points in a superb 23-17 triumph, which has kick-started the cup campaign at Harecroft Road.

But the victory came at a price with captain Tom Long rushed to hospital after half an hour with a dislocated collar bone, which will see him sidelined for around four months.

Vice-captain Shane Vickers, who returned to the side from his own lengthy injury, said: “It was a scrappy victory and we should have won easier. At stages we were brilliant but we fell asleep for a few moments and let them back into it.

“We have some key players returning to the side so we are certainly going in the right direction.”

Wisbech started brightly against an Elizabethans side in good form, and it was flanker Chris Newns who broke the deadlock by crashing over.

Their lead was extended with a Mark Laws penalty, before Ben Wicks scored a second try after a lovely lineout take by Matt Stead.

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Another Laws penalty had seen the home side looking comfortable at 18-3 but as errors started to creep into their game, Barnet seized the initiative.

Two converted tries - including one interception - narrowed Wisbech’s lead to just a single point at 18-17.

But nerves were settled late on, when Laws added a try to his tally of points, after being released by Vickers.

Vickers said the side, who visit Mersea Island on Saturday, will miss the influence of their captain and must continue to build on their cup win.

He said: “He’s a good leader round the park and I’m hoping to step into those boots. But it’s time for us all to step up - you can’t hide against these big sides that we’re playing.

“It will not be an easy game. There’s some big units in this league so it will be tough and physical but certainly not beyond our reach.”

It was a different story for Wisbech II, who lost 35-19 to West Norfolk II despite being in front at half time.

Tries from Nathan Stockley and Matt Mitchell and an accomplished kicking display from Steve Priest had given Wisbech the advantage at the break.

But it was a lead they squandered in the second half as Norfolk ran in four unanswered tries to secure the points.