Fakenham Rugby Club off to a winning start in London Counties 3EC
Fakenham made a promising start to the new London Counties 3EC season with a 24-12 success over Wisbech at the newly-named Stringer Ground.
The hosts got off to the best possible start when winger Charlie Harding sped down the wing for an unconverted try.
Wisbech were strong in attack and responded through their captain, David Wadsley, who went over for a converted reply.
A try-saving tackle from Damon Howick, which resulted in a yellow card, denied a further score before Wisbech runners were eventually able to make it over for their second try of the match.
Trailing 12-5 at the start of the second period, Fakenham again put quick points on the board with Harding going over for his second score after good work from Rob Ward and Tom Bane-Young.
Conceded penalties by Wisbech and some good play by Fakenham took them deep inside the opposition half before scrum-half Luke Taylor shrugged off a tackle and darted over for the try.
Bane-Young converted and Fakenham took the lead for the first time in the game at 17-12.
A period of open play saw opportunities for both sides, but neither side was able to see them through.
Wisbech looked threatening in attack and, although Fakenham put in some strong defensive tackles, the visitors suffered with a number of forward passes and knock-ons which cost them several good chances.
Fakenham also had their chances. A charged-down kick in the Wisbech 22 looked like an opportunity, but the ball unfortunately met the touch line for a Wisbech lineout.
This time the visitors used their larger size to their advantage, driving Fakenham back to halfway with a seemingly unstoppable maul.
When it finally collapsed, both Wisbech No.4, Henry Lankfer, and the Fakenham prop, Rory Singleton, were sent to the sin-bin for infringements in the maul.
Fakenham were another man down soon after when flanker James Howell caught a Wisbech pass from an offside position with Wisbech just five metres from the try-line.
Despite a man advantage, Wisbech were still unable to score, and instead conceded a scrum.
With scrums now uncontested, Fakenham were able to clear their lines and move play up to halfway, where another superb break from Ashley Stewart almost resulted in a score.
He was only prevented from scoring by a high tackle, which resulted in the referee immediately awarding a penalty try for Fakenham.
Despite pressure from Wisbech in the final few minutes of the game, their efforts were denied both by their own handling errors and a strong Fakenham defence.