Coach will make all the difference as Wisbech prepare for London NE3 opener at Beccles

Joe Ansbro, fourth right, giving tips to Wisbech Grammar School's tourists.

Joe Ansbro, fourth right, giving tips to Wisbech Grammar School's tourists. - Credit: Archant

Team manager Cliff Humphreys believes having a coach again this season will help Wisbech steer clear of another relegation scrap.

The Harecroft Road outfit just avoided the drop from London North-East Division Three but are hopeful of better things this term ahead of tomorrow's opener at Beccles.

South African Leonard Veenendaal, a former player and ex-youth team coach, has returned and Humphreys admits his presence, after a season without a coach following Ben McCall's departure, is likely to be a vital one.

'It's important that we have a coach on the grounds that they can be there at training on a Tuesday and Thursday,' said Humphreys.

'Leonard can and should be able to make the games too, home and away. If things are going wrong he can help put them right. Players like to know they are being watched. The coach has got to have the respect of the players, and visa versa, and I believe Leonard has already started building that.

'We work very well together and if it's not an instant success for the club, I'm sure, as the season continues, we can show the rest of the league what we're all about.'

During the summer, David Wadsley stepped down as club captain with stalwarts Mark Laws and Nathaniel Humphreys replacing him as joint-skippers.

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Wisbech ended last term's troubles with a final-day win at Beccles but will again be missing bodies for the trip to Suffolk.

However, Humphreys insists they will not struggle with availability for away matches like they did during the 2012/13 campaign.

He said: 'We won't have a full team because we are an agricultural side and our farming fraternity are harvesting. Dave's workload meant he couldn't commit to pre-season and the early fixtures so he's taken a step back.

'But Mark and Nathaniel have taken over which is good as they also command the respect of the lads.'

n A new 1st XV rugby squad at Wisbech Grammar School has been honing its skills with two pre-season tours.

In a three-day visit to Gloucester the boys, led by captain George Porter, had access to Gloucester Rugby Academy facilities.

And in a second outing 20 members of the squad, together with 19 of the under-15s A squad, travelled to Southampton for an overnight tour.

The boys had the added benefit of a session with former Scottish international and Northampton Saints centre Joe Ansbro before they departed.