North Walsham coach not getting carried away with good start

Tom Williams, pictured in action against Chelmsford last Saturday, could be making his final appeara

Tom Williams, pictured in action against Chelmsford last Saturday, could be making his final appearance for the Vikings tomorrow. Picture: ABBI POLLEY - Credit: Archant

The new era at North Walsham may have got off to a good start but head of rugby James Brooks is not getting carried away.

The Vikings appointed the former Northampton Saints fly-half during the summer, with the role taking on wider responsibilities than just the fortunes of the club's first XV.

His reign has got off to a flying start, with Walsham winning all three of their opening London 3NE fixtures, winning 33-5 at Old Priorians, 55-13 at Sudbury and then beating Colchester 57-5 in their first home match last weekend. Next up is Barking, who edged to a first win of the campaign last weekend, thanks to a 16-14 victory at Saffron Walden.

'I was really seeing what we had in the squad to start with and finding out our strengths and weaknesses,' said Brooks. 'Going back a few weeks, we had a good pre-season win at Kettering (24-7) and then two away games and two good wins in the league, then last week was our first home game and it was a really good performance. Looking forward, Barking have been up the leagues previously and I'm sure will be a tough outfit at home.'

The Vikings will soon have the services of a new back from New Zealand, Joshua Brown, to bolster the first XV.

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Brooks realises there is still a lot of work ahead of his squad yet this season though.

'We're not looking too far ahead, we're taking it week by week,' the former England sevens international continued. 'I'm still learning about the league and, no disrespect intended, but the sides we've beaten from what I'm hearing are probably not going to be in the top half.

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'So the players are grounded and they understand that but it's been great to see the attitude of the lads so far, we've scored a lot of points and that's a great start.'

Club captain James Knight is still being eased into action after missing last season through injury but Brooks' cause has been helped by two experienced forwards.

'James was on the bench last week and wanted to get involved from the start of the season but we felt he had such a long time out that we didn't want to push him too hard, and he had a slight blip in pre-season as well,' Brooks added. 'But he is confident now in himself and will definitely be okay to start soon.

'We've had a couple of props away with work commitments and it's been great that we've had an old stalwart in Stuart Loose who came into the team and did a really good job for us.

'And Johnny Masters, who played at a high level, is the father of one of the Colts boys and we spoke to him about putting on a Vikings shirt and what that means, and he has really bought into it and done a great job.'

Acky Downing, Tim Weber, Harry Downing and Mike Braans are all available but Brooks will have decisions to make in both forwards and backs, particularly after the blistering start made by new recruit Michael Hendry, a hat-trick of tries on his debut, almost certainly a first at Scottow.

It could be the final game for No8 Tom Williams, who having completed his masters at the UEA is planning a move to London. Having come up through the club's mini and youth system he has made 60 appearances in the green and black and will be a hard act to follow.

The Raiders, who suffered their first league defeat since October last weekend, should be closer to full strength and will hope to get back to winning ways when West Norfolk II visit Scottow.

On another positive note, the club's third team, the Warriors, has reformed under the leadership of Ed Salmon and Geoff Williamson. Anyone interested in playing are asked to contact Ed on 07769 976123.

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