Relegation boost for Wisbech after five-point deduction appeal upheld
Wisbech's relegation battle has been given a huge boost after the club's appeal against a five-point deduction was upheld.
The Harecroft Road outfit's spiral down the London North-East Division Three table looked set to spin out of control after they were punished for postponing a home clash with Beccles on November 24 due to a waterlogged pitch.
However, despite being unable to raise a side for a hastily-rearranged away fixture in Suffolk less than 24 hours later, the league's appeals committee decided to vote in favour of Wisbech's plea.
Boss Cliff Humphreys, whose side should replay the game against the high-fliers on December 22, said: 'I personally feel vindicated. It was my decision to call off the game on the Friday and I thought I was doing everyone a favour, especially in terms of safety.
'Not only could we have lost the game but we could have had points deducted. Of course I'm glad our appeal was successful and that the committee took our point of view and awarded in our favour.
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'I felt down myself. I don't want to let the players down, I want to look after them. At no point did we criticise the league secretary. He was only applying the rules and we have no grievance with what he did.
'We just thought we were justified to enter an appeal based on the mitigating circumstances. It's lifted my spirits and I'm extremely happy. Hopefully it gives everybody a lift and we can go into the new year with vigour and rebuild. The next results aren't the be all and end all now.'
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Wisbech, eighth, would have slipped four points from safety had the league imposed the maximum penalty for the call-off debacle.
The decision leaves them two places, and one point, above the drop zone and comes after Humphreys' side lost their 100pc home record to league leaders Norwich at the weekend.
'We would have been in trouble had we lost the points, but to be fair we gave Norwich a real good game and in my eyes were the better side for most of it,' said Humphreys after the 18-5 defeat to the city high-fliers.
'Now we need to forget about it and start thinking about moving up the league. If we win our home games and a few away ones we can finish in mid-table in our first season back.'
The Cambridgeshire outfit travel to rivals Cantabrigian, fifth — who like Wisbech got promoted into London NE Div Three last season — tomorrow. Richard Pearson will be unavailable after breaking his arm during his side's weekend defeat.