Must-win game for Wisbech in London North-East Division Three relegation battle

Wisbech Rugby Club, red, are hoping to avoid the drop on two fronts this term. Picture: STEVE WILLIAMS Wisbech Rugby Club, red, are hoping to avoid the drop on two fronts this term. Picture: STEVE WILLIAMS

Friday, February 14, 2014
6:45 AM

Wisbech will take a massive stride towards safety if they beat their relegation rivals Old Brentwoods tomorrow.

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The Harecroft Road club are four points and one place ahead of their 10th-placed opponents – who occupy the third and final relegation slot in the 12-team table.

A victory would move Leonard Veenendaal and Cliff Humphreys’ troops clear of the London North-East Division Three drop zone with only a handful of games left to play. But if they taste defeat, their hopes of staying in the league will look even bleaker with Brentwoods still having played two games less.

Manager Humphreys said: “It’s a must-win game. Old Brentwoods are four points behind us in the relegation battle and did not play on Saturday so now have two games in hand.

“The corresponding away clash was very close. It was abandoned after 60 minutes when the referee broke down with the scoreline 24-22 in Old Brentwoods’ favour. However, it appears that Old Brentwood have become strong as they drew away with league leaders Campion. Hopefully a large partisan home crowd will help by cheering the side on.”

Coach Veenendaal is hoping his men can build on the positives from Wisbech’s 15-6 defeat to league leaders Campion on Saturday.

He said: “We showed tremendous heart and spirit and many have sung our praises for the gallant effort in taking the game to the top of the league side.

“Man for man the pack fronted up with notable performances from skipper Ali Comben, Kerrie McMullen, Jack Smith and Greg Brownlow and a man of the match display from Nathan Goodale. We take a lot of positives from the game which has set the benchmark for the remainder of the season, but we were disappointed with the loss.

“It’s a game we could and should have won. We have to learn to be more patient and clinical in the opposition 22.”

After sustained early pressure the title hopefuls infringed at the breakdown. Mark Laws kicked the penalty to put Wisbech 3-0 ahead.

The kicker, who has just returned from a broken ankle, converted another but the hosts bagged a converted try and a dead-ball of their own to take a 10-6 lead into the break.

Laws didn’t return after spraining the ankle he didn’t damage earlier this season and Campion held firm to stave off same late pressure and record a hard-fought win thanks to another penalty.

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