Rugby club mark return with a bang after 18-month absence

Wisbech Rugby Club Wildcats team before Cambridgeshire Police game

Wisbech Rugby Club played in a competitive fixture for the first time since February last year when their Wildcats team faced Cambridgeshire Police in a friendly. - Credit: Wisbech Rugby Club

Wisbech Rugby Club marked their return to action for the first time in 18 months with a bang. 

The club’s Wildcats team overcame Cambridgeshire Police 43-33 in a friendly last week, the first time Wisbech have fielded a side since February last year. 

Director of rugby Leonard Veenendaal fielded a mixed side, ranging from 18 to 52-years-old with seven players making their debut at Harecroft Road. 

The visitors started strongly to catch the Wildcats out, before the hosts responded through tries from Sam Anderson and 18-year-old Daniel Evans. 

A strong Wildcats lineout led by Chris Parry took the Wisbech pack over the line, hooker Nathaniel Humphrys the beneficiary to land a converted try. 

Police continued to pile on the pressure with a try of their own, before Parry showed his experience with two powerful tries from quick penalties after half-time. 

As the Wildcats clung onto a three-point lead courtesy of Josh Ferguson’s penalty, Gerhard Wessels came off the bench to score a try to seal victory for Wisbech. 

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Others who stood out for the Wildcats included Sean Hawthorne, Tom Goude and Olly Mackett as well as debutants Jack Obey, Archie Lylle and Jared Hammond-Smith. 

Fly-half Rhys Dyer and Goude shared the man of the match award. 

Gary Knightingale, captain of Cambridgeshire Police XV, said: “The Wisbech Wildcats team gave excellent opposition and they showed that they were no push overs and had many quality players on display. 

“Despite the defeat, the Cambridgeshire Police team came off the field with the heads held high, to applause for the home team and supporters."   

Wisbech’s first-team and Wildcats host Newmarket first and second teams this Saturday, 3pm.

The friendlies will be played in memory of former club members and players Tim Mason, Michael Chapman, Claude Martin and Martin ‘Noddy’ West who have died over the last 18 months. 

Wildcats Points 

Tries: Sam Anderson; Daniel Evans; Nathaniel Humphreys; Chris Parry (2); Gerhard Wessels. 

Conversions: Josh Ferguson (x5). 

Penalty: Josh Ferguson. 

Cambridgeshire Police Points 

Tries: Matt Heaton, Dean Elmore, Pete Mills, Mark Jones, Callum Lewis. 

Conversions: Gary Nightingale (x3), Callum Lewis. 

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