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L&Y put Wisbech to the sword

PUBLISHED: 10:05 17 September 2010

Wisbech 6, Lowestoft and Yarmouth 14

L&Y kicked off their 2010/11 league campaign with a deserved and dogged win away to old rivals Wisbech by two tries to nil.

Wisbech finished four places above L&Y last season and are a formidable prospect at home, but they had no answer to the visitor’s set piece domination and organised defence. This was despite a poor run up to the season during which L&Y have had four cancelled fixtures for friendly warm-up games, severely denting their preparations. With huge credit to the team, they gelled superbly as the game wore on and, with a limited game plan, ably coped with Wisbech’s dangerous attack.

The home team had the better territory in a turgid first half and, despite conceding a couple more penalties in the confusion around the breakdowns they took the lead with two long range penalties from their full back after L&Y were blown up for hands in the ruck, then some needless backchat.

L&Y’s back row of Marc Thomas, Steve Powles, and Steve Adams led the defence superbly and once the tight five found their rhythm, the half finished with L&Y pushing the Wisbech line.

Giant lock Simon Coleman showed a marked improvement from last year after a few weeks training with his county teammates over at North Walsham, and he added some power in the loose to his usual exemplary work in the lineout. Adams was also noticeably effective on the openside flank, especially considering it was his first full game in the position after a close-season switch from the centres. His abrasive tackling rubbed off on the team, and by the end of the half Wisbech had crucially lost two key players to injury at scrum-half and no.8, and looked as if their only hope was to stay away from contact.The pressure continued early after the break and a series of scrums five metres from the home line eventually buckled the Wisbech pack for the ref to award a penalty try. Influential scrum half Russ Chapman converted and shortly afterwards one of many superb touchfinders by Scott Nelson put L&Y back by the home try line.

L&Y stole a scrum against the head and after Thomas set up the ruck, Howe charged powerfully off Nelson’s shoulder and was shoved over next to posts giving Chapman another easy conversion.

Nelson then took tactical control of the game with some sensible kicking, pushing the Wisbech back three deep into their half and forcing them to counterattack. By then chasing up with an organised midfield defence and some pressure from the wings, L&Y throttled the home team. As the whistle neared, L&Y had to prevent any Wisbech score in order to maintain the 8-point lead and prevent a crucial losing bonus point and, with some desperate last ditch home attacks, L&Y’s defensive patience failed for the first time in the match.

Despite a frantic flurry of penalties in overtime eventually captain Thomas stole the ball as Wisbech piled towards his line and Nelson gladly kicked it out to claim the first four points of the season.

Tries: penalty, Howe

Cons: Chapman (2)

Team: Newton, Howe, Titterington, Wilkinson, Coleman, Powles, Adams, Thomas (c), Chapman, S Nelson, Scott, K Nelson, Sutherland, Castleton, Fewkes

Bench: Bristo (on for Newton), Scheijde (on for Powles), Cashman (on for Wilkinson)

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