Norfolk duo braced for tough challenge
NATIONAL LEAGUE 3 LONDON & SE: For the second week in succession, Diss and North Walsham are bracing themselves for tough assignments against high-flying sides.
There is a runaway clutch of four sides at the top of the table – and having both been beaten emphatically by sides from that group last weekend, there is no respite for the Norfolk clubs tomorrow.
Diss, crushed 64-7 by leaders Dorking last Saturday, travel to fourth-placed Ampthill, while Walsham, on the back of a 32-0 home defeat against Hertford, travel to Dorking.
Ampthill's visit to Mackenders earlier in the season was a closer affair than the 17-41 scoreline suggested, with the visitors only pulling away in the last quarter. The Diss coaches welcome back into the squad Chris Trede and Fraser Hall, with the team selected after last night's final training session.
Walsham also gave a good account of themselves in the reverse fixture against Dorking in early October, before going down 24-36.
Coach Nick Greenhall will have viewed the video of last week's game and will almost certainly be working on the defensive line to eliminate the soft scores which boosted Hertford's tally.
With Shaun Woodhouse unavailable, Dom Roberts is likely to step in. Mark McCall spent the whole of last week's game on the bench, but is fully fit and able to resume hooking duties from Mike Henry, who could move to the back row to replace openside Alex Harrod, who was injured last week. Competition for the slot will however be stiff as Tom Coller, back from injury, and James Elliott will also be in contention.
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There is one further option as Chris Godwin, out of action since breaking his leg at Hertford in November 2009, is back in full training. However his route to the Vikings could be via 20 or 30 minutes for one of the lower sides.
Will Crossley made enough of an impression on his debut last week, albeit in a struggling pack, to retain his place at No 8.
Certain to change is the half-back partnership, with the return of Lee Sandberg from international duty with the Swedish side, and Jack Hoyles from illness. This pairing, growing in confidence as they gain familiarity, is key to the structure of the side and their return should also have a stabilising effect. With Ewan Wilson unable to travel, Shane van Vuuren will step back in on the wing.