London Irish request sees Salmon slip from North Walsham’s grasp

Action from North Walsham's (green) defeat to Colchester at Scottow - Toby Salmon. Picture: Hywel Jo

Action from North Walsham's (green) defeat to Colchester at Scottow - Toby Salmon. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Hywel Jones

North Walsham have lost the services of second row Toby Salmon as they look to get last weekend's shock defeat at London One North bottom side Woodford out of their systems.

Having returned to Scottow after three seasons at university Salmon has been asked to move to National Two side Chinnor at the request of London Irish, for whom they are a feeder club. Having played three times for Irish in the 'A' League this season he has obviously impressed.

Vikings coach Nick Greenhall, while unhappy to lose any player, especially when there are other selection problems to contend with, had no hesitation in agreeing to the move.

'With our current injury problems this has not come at a good time for us but North Walsham is one of the few clubs in the Eastern Counties that endeavours to progress players onwards, and has never stood in the way of players who have the opportunity to move up a level,' he said, citing players such as James Shanahan, now Director of Rugby at Plymouth Albion, Mike Howard (Bedford) and Jamie Forrester (Taunton) as examples. 'Toby is a local lad who learned his rugby at Scottow and whilst he is a loss to our squad, we are pleased to see him progress'.

Salmon's place in the second row for tomorrow's home match with Barking is likely to be taken by Ashley Speight who, although normally a back rower, has impressed with his ability and attitude since joining in the pre-season. Skipper Mike Rouse returns to the back row but hopes that Pena Sokia might return have been dashed as his broken nose needs further time to mend, In the back line Will Hodgson is unavailable so there will be some changes needed. Ben Clayphan, back from injury, is likely to take over at scrum-half with Jacques Olivier moving into the centre. Having had a break to rest both a groin strain and a hamstring injury James Knight should return at full back.

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No one at Scottow would deny that last week's result was anything other than a shocker. But whilst there will be inquests and no doubt some recriminations, come the weekend they must be put aside and full concentration on the task of getting back to winning ways. A key to success will be keeping 15 players on the pitch, with yellow cards having been costly to the Vikings of late.

game but spend time on the sidelines. Against Woodford the side was reduced to fourteen players in the first half and in that time the home side took a lead they were never to relinquish. This is a difficult problem for Nick Greenhall to deal with and whilst he will not sidestep the issue more of his efforts will be directed at re building confidence against a resurgent Barking.

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Fixture against the Essex side were a regular feature of the fixture list for more than twenty seasons before Walsham slipped out of the National Leagues while Barking headed for the heights of Division One. Sadly for them they were unable to sustain that progress and, after a couple of very difficult seasons, fixtures between the clubs resume after about a seven season break. After a stuttering start they have settled down and now sit one place behind the Vikings with a single point separating them.

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