RUGBY: Wisbech 1st beat Woodbridge 33-0 at Harecroft Road
PUBLISHED: 12:06 19 February 2019
Wisbech 1st XV refound their winning form when they beat Woodbridge RFC 33-0 at Harecroft Road on Saturday afternoon.
Coming into the match off the back of a tough defeat to Fakenham last weekend, Leonard Veenendaals’ team put in an assertive and dominant performance and well deserving of their win.
The opening minutes on February 16 belonged to the home side, who repeatedly caused problems for the Woodbridge defence deep in their own half.
From a Woodbridge scrum Wisbech managed to hook the ball against the head, three phases later the ball was quickly moved through the hands, Henrikas Stankus scoring the opening try, Newman missed the conversion.
Wisbech continued to set the pace, from a lineout on the ten meter line Freddie Napier, deputising in the unfamiliar roll of fly half, made a scintillating break beating three defenders to score the Men in Red’s second try, Newman converted to give Nottingham a 12-point lead.
Woodbridge called a five-man attacking lineout on the half way line, Wisbech’s captain fantastic Solomon Prestidge managed to steal the ball which was quickly fed out to Ben ‘The Hulk’ Wicks.
He put in a powerful carry deep into the Woodbridge half, from the ensuing ruck, Prestidge and Nathan Goodale combined well to get the ball to the backs.
Napier finding Shane Vickers on his outside who beat two defenders before offloading to left wing Dan Di Meo to score under the post. Newman added the extras to make it 19-0 going into the break.
Wisbech were quickest out the blocks after the break when from the restart Ben Wicks put in another one of his trademark powerful carries, skipper Solomon Prestidge put in a second phase with another huge carry before offloading to David Wadsley who straightened the attack and with a well-timed pass put Freddie Napier through the gap.
Napier managed to get the ball to Dan Di Meo who still had plenty to do, stepping past two defenders before turning on the afterburners to score his second try under the post. The conversion was good.
Wisbech continued to manage the game well keeping Woodbridge in their half. Woodbridge kicked to clear their lines could not find touch, Henrikas Stankus running the ball back with internet. From the ruck the ball was quickly moved through the backs, Shane Vickers showing his class to beat his opposite number, drawing the last defender before releasing Di Meo to run in the try for his hat trick on only his second appearance and first start for the 1st XV. Newman converted to stretch the Wisbech lead to 33-0
The away side were looking for a response and enjoying a strong spell. Woodbridge repeatedly attacked to no avail, as Wisbech’s resolute defence held off phase after phase.
Eighteen year old Luke Green and veteran Mark Goude of the bench making a real impact along with Henrikas Stankus putting in some fantastic tackles.
Wisbech then looked to take back control over the match and continued to apply pressure to Woodbridge, despite having the upper hand, Wisbech failed to capitalise on their strong chances in the closing 10 minutes.
The Men in Red back to winning ways with a 33-0 bonus point win.
Speaking after the match, Wisbech head coach Nico Steenkamp said: “We were absolutely gutted losing the first round away fixture 30-14 back in October, so I am so happy for the boys, they went out there and they put our game on the park.
“We held them out manging to null them and then obviously we took our chances when they came up. I’m really happy for the forwards, they were really dominant today, our backs took the right decisions and executed well and we came out on the right sides of the fine margins”
There were strong performances from a number of players, but the Wisbech Round Table man of the match was awarded to stand in fly half Freddie Napier.
Wisbech 1st XV next face Ipswich away on March 2, the Wildcats host Camborne at home on Saturday the February 23.