Much more than local pride at stake as North Walsham and Holt clash

Prop Dane Canning in action for Holt in their victory at Basildon. Picture: Stuart Young

Prop Dane Canning in action for Holt in their victory at Basildon. Picture: Stuart Young - Credit: Stuart Young

There is local derby action at Scottow tomorrow when neighbours Holt and North Walsham lock horns in the semi-finals of the Woodfordes Norfolk Cup.

While the rugby is obviously the main attraction there is always a social element to meetings between the two clubs with their shared background in farming and matters agricultural. Equally players from both clubs know each other well, having played against each other through the junior levels or together at school. All of which should make for an entertaining afternoon both on and off the pitch.

Vikings coach Nick Greenhall will be looking to field his strongest possible line-up as he is not one to take local opposition lightly regardless of their league status, with Holt currently playing their rugby one rung down the ladder in London 2NE.

He went into last week's defeat at Thurrock with some key players missing and a couple of other players picked up injuries. Whilst the injuries will have to be assessed he will be hoping that absentees Chris Borrett and Chris Godwin, two mainstays of the squad, will be available. After a couple of games on the wing Borrett is likely to return to his favoured position at outside half, replacing the unavailable David Treglown. The same will apply to James Knight, who missed last week's game to aid recovery of a back problem, and Mark McCall, who picked up an injury at work and both could figure in the squad.

Of the players who picked up injuries last week, flanker Ashley Speight is finding a hamstring strain slow to heal and will miss this one but lock Ryan Oakes has reported fit.

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Having had a good run-out with the Raiders last week, Stuart Loose, Pena Sokia and Freddie Henley-Hunter could all be in contention for a spot on the bench.

Holt have never reached the final of the Senior Cup and have never beaten Walsham in this competition, although they came very close in 2012 when they scored the only try of the game but lost 6-5 to a late injury-time penalty.

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The Holt coaching team of Ed Steed and David Bailey along with captain Bruce van Poortvliet have been pulling out all the stops to secure a strong side in the face of losing several players due to injury and other commitments.

Olly Wastnage makes a long journey back from University to step in for the missing James Riley and club loyalties are stretched with Josh Simmons coming back from duties at Shelford to replace the absent Tom Jackson.

Jackson is set to play a huge part in the Under 20 County Championship semi-final for Eastern Counties as they play for a place in the final at Twickenham when they face Berkshire at Cambridge on Sunday.

Kick-off has been advanced by 15 minutes and will now be at 2.45pm to allow the players and officials to unwind, re-hydrate and eat prior to the start of the England v Scotland match which will be shown in the clubhouse.

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