Wisbech have to work hard to conquer Crusaders as Jack secures last-gasp win

Jack Malkin was man of the match for Wisbech in their win over Crusaders

Jack Malkin was man of the match for Wisbech in their win over Crusaders - Credit: Archant

Wisbech had to work hard to earn a 22-18 win at Crusaders in London Three Eastern Counties on Saturday.

Wisbech captain Solomon Prestidge celebrates their win at Crusaders

Wisbech captain Solomon Prestidge celebrates their win at Crusaders - Credit: Archant

The hosts began well in front of a large, noisy crowd, but Wisbech opened the scoring on 10 minutes when full-back Freddie Napier’s 30-metre run saw him beat three players to touch down.

Harry Newman added the conversion, but Crusanders hit back and landed two penalties to close the gap to one point.

Wisbech got hold of the ball and showed persistence in attack, with number eight Pat Grote going over in the right corner to make it 12-6.

Newman added a penalty before the break, but the home side ran in their first try 10 minutes after the restart to make it 15-11.

And Crusaders then took the lead with minutes left when a chip kick over the Wisbech defence was gathered by a grateful winger to run under the posts for a converted try to put them 18-15 up.

There was still enough stoppage time, though, for Wisbech to regain possession and build phases with patient play, before man of the match Jack Malkin slipped through a gap to score under the posts, with Newman adding the conversion.

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Director or rugby Leonard Veenendaal said: “We were excellent in the first half and defended with equal equality in the second, but Crusaders at home are always a tough side who provide a difficult test for any side in the league.

“I’m immensely proud of how the boys kept their cool and stuck to the game shape and plan. Every one, including the bench, gave their all, did their town, club and the shirt proud, and as a coach you can’t ask for more.”

Next up for the Men in Red is a trip to leaders Holt on Saturday (2pm).

*Wisbech Wildcats ran out 32-26 winners over St Ives seconds in the Cambridgeshire Junior Cup.

Olly Lake went over from a rolling maul, with prop Kerrie McMullen also going over as they led 18-14 at half time.

And after a converted St Ives try, under-17 Ben Goude reclaimed the lead for Wildcats, only for them to fall behind again.

Fly-half Zak Lakey crossed in the final minutes, with Sam Anderson converting to seal the Wildcats win, as Ollie Simpson was named man of the match.

“I’m very happy with how the lads responded and proud of the effort put in,” said Iwan Jones.

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