London 2NE: Strugglers will be given due respect
The withdrawal of last week's scheduled cup opponents was frustrating for both coaches and players of North Walsham.
Although it provided the opportunity to rest, such has been the intensity in training that most players were desperate to keep the momentum and focus that has been built up in recent weeks.
London side Old Streetonians provide the opposition for the leaders at Scottow tomorrow. This being the first meeting between the clubs little is known of them except that they base themselves in Shoreditch and play their matches on Hackney Marshes. Their season has been a disappointing one and they are currently in the drop zone eight points clear of Stevenage, who they beat 18-8 in their last game.
Nick Greenhall has been around long enough to know that fixtures like this have a 'banana skin' element to them and will urge no slackening of effort. He should have few problems in selection and might just decide to ring the changes.
Dean Blyth has recovered from his dead leg and should resume at scrum- half with Chris Borrett as his partner, allowing Henry Dewing to return to full back in place of Jon Younie.
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There could be changes to the pack with a possible starting role for hooker Aaron Beaumont. Skipper Andy Tibbatts and Chris Godwin are due to return to the back row and Tom Coller, who has done sterling work all season, could be rested to the bench. If so then Gerald Hegarty could be rewarded for some top class displays for the Raiders by getting his first start of the campaign.
The Raiders, who failed in their attempt to find a fixture last week, find themselves in a similar situation again as scheduled opponents Lakenham Hewett have illness and injury problems. The game will be re-scheduled for later in the season.
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Holt travel to play Stevenage in a confident mood following their exciting bonus point victory over Saffron Walden a fortnight ago. That win saw Holt move up to fourth place in the table and only two points off second and they will be looking to go into next weekend's much anticipated local derby against North Walsham on the back of another victory.
Coach Ed Steed will be taking nothing for granted tomorrow, saying: 'It might be a well worn clich� but there are no easy fixtures in this league, Stevenage are struggling a bit at present but will be looking for a confidence boost against us, so it is important that we approach this game in the same professional manner that we have all our others.'
Steed is confident that Holt will not be distracted by the impending home game against Walsham.
'Obviously the boys are more than aware of it and the whole club are talking about it but it's important that we put it to one side and concentrate on the Stevenage game otherwise we could come unstuck.'
With no game last Saturday, a number of Holt's squad, as well as coach Steed, took the opportunity to assist the club's youth coaches with training on Sunday. Also present was RFU Community rugby coach Tim Reid, who led one of several coaching stations.
The break also allowed physio Andy Siddall to continue to reduce the injury list and Holt should have a strong squad to pick from, with – in the continued absence of Penny Chapman – Steed having some difficult decisions to make.
Lowestoft and Yarmouth have a tough home match against third placed Chelmsford tomorrow. L&Y won their previous home fixture against Enfield Ignatians handsomely and will be looking to bounce back from a 22-10 defeat at Stowmarket.