Early call-off for Vikings’ home game

Tomorrow's local rugby programme looks almost certain to be wiped out by the wintry weather – with one match already off.

With their pitch covered by snow, and more bad weather forecast, North Walsham opted to postpone their scheduled London 2NE fixture with bottom side Stevenage Town yesterday. The game has been rescheduled for the afternoon of February 23. The Raiders and Warriors games against Fakenham have also fallen foul of the harsh weather conditions and will be re-arranged for dates to be agreed.

Thanks to the combination of a nine try win over Saffron Walden and neighbours Holt beating Ipswich and denying them even a losing bonus point, the Vikings extended their lead over the chasing pack to 15 points last weekend.

Injuries to Chris Borrett, Dean Blyth, Leon Davies and James Knight forced Nick Greenhall to make changes last week and it appeared not to have diminished the side in any way.

Borrett has a medium to long-term injury but Knight will have had plenty of time to recover from a hamstring as will Davies with his sore ribs and both could feature when Vikings return to action.

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With a pitch inspection planned at 2pm today Holt's match at Braintree looks set to go the same way, denying the side a chance to build on the superb 24-15 victory over Ipswich.

The win saw Holt rise two places to third and only four points behind Ipswich, with a performance that many in the crowd believed to be the best they'd seen by a Holt side for several seasons.

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'Before Saturday's game we'd played well for periods in most games but hadn't played really well for a whole 80 minutes all season,' said Holt coach Ed Steed.

'In part this is because we're playing better quality of opposition but it was something that we identified we needed to work towards. Against Ipswich we got that performance and then some. The forwards dominated play from the start and the backs produced some excellent running lines and their tackling was outstanding. This was, to a man, the same Ipswich side that beat us convincingly, 52-18, early on in the season, which shows how far we've come. We're moving steadily towards achieving our goal of maintaining our league status and once this is done we can then push on and try to finish as high up the league as possible.'

Steed was full of praise for full back Damon Howick, who opened the scoring and was named man of the match.

'It was a real 18 man performance but Damon really excelled in what was only his second game for the first team this season. He is an example to all our young players.'

Commenting on the possibility of the game being lost to the weather, Steed added: 'The boys are buzzing after the wins over Stowmarket and Ipswich and particularly with the manner of the performance against Ipswich, so it would be good to take that momentum into the Braintree game. As such it would be disappointing if it is postponed.'

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