Annus horribilis: Wisbech’s 12-month wait for an away win continues

Wisbech rugby v Ely. Picture: Steve Williams.

Wisbech rugby v Ely. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

This weekend marks an anniversary Wisbech will not want reminding of – the last time they won a league match on the road.

The Harecroft Road outfit, struggling to get going in Greene King Eastern Counties Division One following relegation, have yet to taste an away triumph this term. But that horrible winless run goes much, much, further back for the club that plummeted out of London North-East Division Three last term.

Their last victory came on November 9, 2013, by virtue of a 20-17 success at Wymondham. Yet nine matches later they're still struggling to shake their travel sickness with their latest loss on opposition soil coming at Swaffham on Saturday.

The Fenlanders were beaten 34-20 as Swaffham collected their first triumph over the club since 1997 to leave boss Cliff Humphreys once again bemoaning away player availability that is threatening to wreck yet another season for Wisbech.

He said: 'We really thought that we would get something out of this match, especially after the excellent performance the previous week (beating Ipswich YM 36-3 at home)

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'Once again we struggled to raise an 18-man squad for an away fixture. You can't help players not being available, due to other commitments but this season Swaffham is the nearest fixture for us, a 30-minute car drive. When you travel with only 16 players the danger is that if a player picks up a knock he will play on, unfortunately Ben Chapman, who damaged his shoulder, did just that and is now out for six weeks.'

Wisbech's annus horribilis will stretch into a 53rd week because they're at home tomorrow. But given their inability to perform away from their own turf it's probably not a bad thing.

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Humphreys' men, coached by Leonard Veenendaal, have picked up 10 of their last 11 victories at a place they call their fortress. So they'll be hoping home comforts can help them win their Junior Vase second round match against same-league Mersea Island. The Islanders, however, are two places and seven points above Wisbech in the table.

Swaffham – who have won back-to-back games are failing to raise a side for consecutive matches – are without a fixture.

In the higher-level Senior Vase, London NE3 West Norfolk host Fullerians in their second round tie. They sit third in London North-West Three having won five of their seven matches while promoted West have triumphed in four from the same amount.

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