Crunch fixtures at both ends of table

LONDON 1N: Norfolk's two representatives in the London 1N division need wins for very different reasons as the league season resumes after an extended festive break.

In-form Diss have a chance to move into the top two tomorrow when they entertain a Colchester side who currently stand second in the table, just four points ahead of Phil Sharpe's side.

North Walsham are equally desperate for points at the other end of the table, having lost 10 of their opening 14 fixtures to lie in the bottom two. They will be looking to make a move in the right direction when they travel to London to play a Hammersmith and Fulham side who are just five points better off.

Diss will be aiming to build on a 10 match unbeaten run, the last of which was a great win at Walsham just before Christmas, but as head coach Sharpe tweeted 'Last year finished well but is now behind us, wiped the board clean.'

Colchester, on the other hand, will be looking to consolidate their position in the second half of the season to claim National League status for 2012/13.


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The first meeting of the two clubs this season at Mill Road was played on September 17 and resulted in the points, bar a bonus point, going to Colchester.

North Walsham start the New Year with the first of two consecutive away trips against sides from opposite ends of the table but the first is probably the most important.

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The difference between the sides is largely due to the scoring stats as Hammersmith have managed to pick up four try bonus points five times to Walsham's one. All season, while the defence has been better than the divisional average, the attack has struggled.

Having had two weeks for bumps and strains to recover Nick Greenhall will almost certainly have a selection dilemma. Up front hooker Mark McCall and flanker Chris Godwin will be back in contention, the former likely to take over from Ben Campbell, who stepped into the breach against Diss and will be more than happy to move aside to prop. But his slot could be under threat from Keith Fowles, who has shown improved fitness in training. Godwin's return to the back row will mean that Greenhall has seven players in competition for the four remaining slots, although as regular Ian Beck has been carrying an injury a late decision could be on the cards.

Behind the pack he has still more decisions to make. Scrum-half Dean Blyth is still sidelined with a hand injury but new signing Ollie Hardisty is primed to take over and partner Henry Dewing. With David Treglown having returned to University Chris Borrett could move to full-back with Adam Couzens and James Crossley forming the midfield. With Shane Van Vuuren back there will be competition for the wing positions.

The Raiders will be seeking a double as they travel to play the return leg against Crusaders II, having won the early season encounter.

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