I had a double dose of Wymondham RFC this weekend, and on both occasions club teams suffered last minute heartbreak.
I was invited to a lunch at Wymondham’s Tuttles Lane ground before their game against Wanstead from East London. Wymondham haven’t had the best of seasons with games lost that should have been won so this was a must-win game if they were to avoid the drop to Eastern Counties One.
An early try gave Wymondham the best of starts and although Wanstead came back with a couple of penalties and a try Wymondham kept the lead with another penalty and second converted try. They had their chances to wrap the game up but Wanstead hit back with another try to narrow the gap to 17-15. Wymondham tried to hang on for a much needed win but Wanstead were awarded a very kickable penalty which was slotted over in was proved to be the last kick of the game and Wymondham went down 17-18.
Photos from Wymondham v Wanstead
On Sunday the finals of the London & South East U17 Cup were being held at Grange Road, Cambridge University’s Rugby ground, and Wymondham were the sole Eastern Counties representatives competing in the Bowl final against Heathfield & Waldron. I had to meet with the Cambridge University Director of Rugby on some RFU business so I took the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.
The weather was perfect for playing and watching, but after a forgettable first half Wymondham were 0-7 down, ruing three missed penalty attempts. The second half started ominously for the Norfolk side, conceding a second converted try early on, but finally a Wymondham penalty was successful and they were on the scoreboard.
A change in tactics saw Wymondham kick ahead and harry Heathfield & Waldron into making mistakes and this paid dividends with two tries in the left hand corner resulting from pressurising the opposition defence, and two very well taken touchline conversions saw Wymondham take a 17-14 lead. The teams exchanged penalties to make the score 20-17 and the last five minutes of an absorbing second half were played at a furious pace, every player throwing themselves into attack or defence as possession seemed to change hands every other breakdown.
With the seconds ticking away Heathfield & Waldron found a gap in the tiring Wymondham defence and with the last move of the game they went over to score the decisive try, the conversion immaterial to the result. So for the second time in a weekend Wymondham were denied an important win, and as I handed the players their runners-up medals there was little I could say in consolation.
Photos from Wymondham U17s v Heathfield & Waldron
Club President Chris Williams and Chairman John Mackay were there for the game and I commiserated with them, hoping that my presence at both games lost by such small margins was just a coincidence. However, I wouldn’t blame them for only inviting me to games where not so much is at stake in future!