Wisbech rugby move step closer to Twickenham with dramatic Junior Vase win

Solomon Prestidge.

Solomon Prestidge. - Credit: Archant

Wisbech kept their Twickenham dream alive with a dramatic 19-12 extra-time win at Cheshunt on Saturday.

The win sees Wisbech through to the semi-finals of the London and South East Division section of the draw, which is the last 16 of the competition.

They just need to win three more cup ties to make it to England’s rugby headquarters.

Team manager Cliff Humphreys said: “I can remember previous home vase games against Sidmouth and Castleford at this stage of the competition when we lost and it would be a great boost for the club if we can go one better this time.”

Wisbech fell behind when mid way through the first half - their defence was caught day dreaming and Cheshunt scored a converted try from a quick penalty.

Shortly after, the home side had a try disallowed for a forward pass - this spurred Wisbech into action and as the half progressed the visitors took control of the game.

Before half time, a combination of solid forward play and good hands in the backs saw winger Lewis Haddon cross the whitewash.

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At half time and with a 7-5 home advantage Wisbech knew the game was there for the taking.

Wisbech dominated possession in the first quarter of the second half but could not find the gaps in the home defence to score.

Cheshunt scored their second try of the afternoon against the run of play when Wisbech failed to secure the ball at a scrum. The conversion was missed.

Wisbech were camped in Cheshunt’s half but as the clock ticked down nerves started to tell.

With one minute remaining, trailing 12-5, Wisbech were on the brink of going out, but captain Solomon Prestidge made a decisive intervention.

Wisbech were awarded a scrum on Cheshunt’s five metre and Prestidge picked up and powered over. Mark Laws added the conversion to level the scores and send the game into extra time.

The game went into extra-time of 10 minutes each way. Half way through the first half Wisbech took the lead for the first time with Shane Vickers’ converted try.

Wisbech were not going to let the lead slip and held out despite some late home pressure to earn a memorable victory.

Coach Leonard Veenendaal, although pleased with the result, felt the squad should remain focused on league games.

He said: “I was very disappointed with the performance away to Thursford which we lost 12-10.

“Had we shown the same passion and commitment in that game as we did today against Cheshunt we would have won.

“The players must realise that a run in the vase is a bonus and that our league position is more important as we do not want to be come involved in a relegation dog fight.

“We must now turn our focus completely on our home league fixture against Wymondham on Saturday which for us is a must win game.”