Wisbech boss expects London NE3 relegation race to go to the wire


Rugby. - Credit: PA

Wisbech boss Cliff Humphreys is convinced the London North-East Division Three relegation battle will come down to a last-day decider.

The large majority of the league's sides go into their penultimate fixtures tomorrow with five teams still in danger of going down alongside Canvey Island and Wymondham. Wisbech sit just one place, and three points, out of trouble having benefitted from Old Brentwoods' 34-7 loss to Old Cooperians last time out. But with the Harecroft Road outfit visiting Sudbury, fourth, this weekend, and Brentwoods taking on the already-relegated Islanders, Humphreys insists this weekend's results are unlikely to have a huge baring on who heads out of NE3.

Wisbech's manager said: 'Harlow have the same points as Beccles but they have Wymondham and Canvey Island left to play. For that reason, I think they'll be fine. That means the last relegation place will be taken up, for me, by either us, Brentwoods, or Beccles.

'There are so many different permutations but if you look at the way the table is, if the results go the way I expect, then it'll go to the last week of the season. It's quite exciting really because we usually know by now who's going down. But there's still so much to play for.'

Beccles have arguably the hardest fixture this weekend when they entertain league-leaders Campion. But Humphreys knows his troops are going to have to deliver something special to bring any points back home from their trip to Sudbury.

'Old Brentwoods should pick up five points at Canvey Island, if they get a win with a try-bonus point,' said the Harecroft Road chief.

'We've got a hard fixture at Sudbury. They have a lot of high-quality players when they play at home. If we could get a bonus point, it would really help us. And that would give us a boost ahead of hosting Beccles on the final weekend of the season. It's basically in our hands as far I'm concerned.'

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The Fenlanders will be hoping their NE3 status isn't deprived by earning one point less than their rivals. Island forfeited their trip to Wisbech and the club were awarded four points for a walkover victory while Brentwood and Beccles played them and picked up the same margin – and an extra bonus point.

Humphreys added: 'Both clubs got five and we didn't. I hope it doesn't come down to that as it would be a contentious issue and we could appeal to the league.'