North Walsham and Diss set for rare league showdown

James Browes in the thick of the action for North Walsham during their big win at South Woodham Ferr

James Browes in the thick of the action for North Walsham during their big win at South Woodham Ferrers. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

It is derby day at Scottow on Saturday as the two most senior sides in Norfolk, North Walsham and Diss, lock horns in league action for the first time since 2014.

Although the clubs have met 22 times since 1994 the majority of meetings have been in the Norfolk Cup, with only four in the league.

Having been relegated from London 1N at the end of the 2013-14 season Diss looked set to make an instant return but failed to win their play-off game.

Last season, however, they stormed back, dominating the table, to finish 15 points clear of South Woodham Ferrers. This term they have made a steady start with a three wins from seven record and last week lost only narrowly to Eton Manor.

Vikings coach James Brooks was pleased with the manner in which his side won 43-5 at South Woodham last week but will expect Diss to provide stiffer opposition.

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Early in the week it seemed that selection could be difficult as a couple of players, James Knight and Josh Brown, failed to complete the game last week. But their withdrawal from the action might have been strategic as the game was well won at the time and both were training hard on Tuesday. Up front there should be changes if Acky Downing returns to the loosehead, which will leave Brooks with options to resolve as Tom Browes, Tim Weber, and Will Swart all have the credentials to fill the front row.

Skipper Ryan Oakes, free of work commitments which kept him out last week, will return to the second row, probably alongside last week's man-of-the-match Roydon Miller. In the back row Lachlan Brown-Bates will be missing through injury but there could be a return to action for Will Hodgson after a frustrating lay-off, but whether it will be as a starter or from the bench is a decision still to be made.

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The make up of the backline will be pretty much as last week although with Dan Smith available Brooks has another decision to make.

James Knight is due to make his 100th appearance in the green and black in Saturday's match, which kicks off at 3pm.

The Raiders entertain Diss Saracens, with the game getting under way at 2.30pm so the players can watch the final half hour of the main attraction.

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