Friday, November 23, 2012
Having established a seven point lead at the top of the table by beating Ipswich last week, North Walsham will travel to face Braintree tomorrow with two aims – a win and the crucially important four try bonus point.
The history between the clubs consists of just two meetings, both last season, culminating with a 27-14 away win for the Vikings and a record breaking 118-0 home success at the end of the season when the Essex side were already relegated and Walsham had just a mathematical chance of survival.
In the end neither survived and both are rebuilding, with Braintree looking safe in mid-table with a four win, four loss record. Statistics however are for supporters while coaches look to the next game and Nick Greenhall will no doubt approach this as he did last week’s top of the table challenge.
Inevitably there will be changes. If Keith Fowles is free of work commitments he could start in the front row with the possibility of Stuart Loose dropping to the bench. With skipper Andy Tibbatts available Greenhall could instantly return him to the back row in place of Pena Sokia or move the Fijian to one of the flanker spots to rest either Tom Coller or Chris Godwin.
With scrumhalf Dean Blyth carrying a leg injury Henry Dewing after a couple of weeks in the back three could move to his more favoured position with Kurt Benney as his half back partner.
The Kiwi is desperate for a full game, having come off the bench in recent weeks.
Having recovered from the dead leg picked up against Stowmarket James Knight is back in full training and will most likely line up alongside Will Hodgson with Adie Ball moving to the wing.
The Raiders face their toughest challenge of the season against Diss Saracens who are just behind them in the table. The squad know that they will have to be more focussed than they were last week against Wisbech or they will be punished.
They will be without Matty Norfolk-Clarke and Freddie Henley-Hunter who have a representative trial on Sunday but forwards Seth Rodger, Tom Williams and Gerald Hegarty step back in and in the back line there could be a return to action for James Forrester following a lengthy lay off with injury.
• Lowestoft & Yarmouth should travel to Stowmarket in good heart having brought their poor run of form to an end in emphatic fashion last weekend.
Having lost three on the trot, while shipping 115 points, L&Y turned on the style to beat Enfield Ignatians 42-0 and will now be looking for another positive result against a side who who lost six of their eight league games so far.