In-form North Walsham expecting tough test at Letchworth Garden City

New South African scrum-half Jacques Olivier scoring on debut for North Walsham during their win aga

New South African scrum-half Jacques Olivier scoring on debut for North Walsham during their win against Luton at Scottow. - Credit: Archant

Following last Saturday's third round of games North Walsham are tied second in London One North with four other sides on 11 points.

Surprisingly at this time of the season the Vikings are, along with leaders Eton Manor, who at this early stage look likely promotion candidates, one of just two sides still unbeaten.

Tomorrow they head to Hertfordshire in a bid to enhance that record against third placed Letchworth Garden City, who to date have beaten Romford & Gidea Park and Ipswich at home but lost to Luton away. The history between the clubs is brief as they have only met four times in league action with Letchworth taking the honours three times, so it's time to redress the balance a bit.

Nick Greenhall is likely to face the usual raft of changes. Up front both Ryan Oakes and Tim Weber are unavailable due to work commitments and with both Tom Browes and Dom Roberts also away there is likely to be a starting place for Fijian Neumi Rokodinono. Oakes' place in the back row could be filled by Aki Downing who can also cover the front row. Having spent the past three games on the bench he will relish the opportunity.

The backs will also show changes as full-back James Knight, who has been carrying a groin strain, is in need of a break and Henry Dewing has work commitments.

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Rhys Davies-Horne, unavailable last week, seems the most likely candidate to replace Knight and the wing slot vacated by Dewing could be filled by young Ben Clayphan, having signed on in the close season.

Indications are there could be new faces on the bench with No8 Ashley Speight and back Vilikesa Vurewa sitting alongside Cutu Serruys who can cover wing or flanker.

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The Raiders, who have had a relatively easy ride in their first couple of fixtures in Eastern Counties Three North, face what should be stiffer opposition when UEA Saxons come to Scottow.

The students will be younger and fitter than most sides in the table and coach Leon Davies will impress on the side the need for concentration and discipline.

He will be without front rowers Dom Roberts and Tom Browes but will have cover as skipper Dan Laddiman returns. Davies and Ian Webster normally form a formidable second row but with George Griffin back after a summer lifeguarding Davies could drop to No8 in place of Ashley Speight who moves into the Vikings squad. Behind the pack he will be hoping for the return of Dean Blyth and Ollie Dyke to add experience.

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