North Walsham poised for first league game of new season

Johnny Marsters had an excellent first season as North Walsham's director of rugby Picture: CLUB

Johnny Marsters had an excellent first season as North Walsham's director of rugby Picture: CLUB - Credit: Archant

Saturday sees the start of the rugby season proper for North Walsham Vikings with a visit to newly promoted Woodford in London One North.

Coach Johnny Marsters has been pleased with the pre-season build-up, with attendances in the high thirties at each session and the emphasis on fitness levels.

Over the past couple of weeks the pattern has changed slightly to bring more matchplay into the sessions and the two pre-season friendlies have also brought partnerships together.

The side to face Woodford, who were regular opposition until 2015 when they were relegated, will have a couple of new boys in it.

Callum Anthony, the son of former Vikings skipper Phil Anthony, joins from his home club Southwold and will almost certainly take the 12 shirt, with James Knight going to full back. The second newcomer is hooker/flanker Ethan Sikorski who has impressed in the pre-season having joined from Norwich Medics and is likely to make his first appearance in the back row.

One positional change which might surprise supporters is that of Donavin Dejong who made all his appearances last year in the centre or on the wing but has moved forward to take the No 8 shirt. Injuries sustained in the pre-season mean prop Frank Scott will be out for a few weeks with a broken bone in his foot and No 8 George Rossi will not be free to play until Saturday week, subject to a head injury assessment.

Missing from last season are Roydon Miller and Lachlan Brown-Bates, who have returned home, while Mike Braans has moved to a job in London, having completed his studies at UEA. Walsham will however retain his registration and he could be called up if his services are required when the team is playing near his new base.

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The Raiders, who do not start their league season until next Saturday, will travel with the Vikings for a friendly against Woodford II with a small squad which will include two promising youngsters moving up from the youth ranks, Jamie Hooker and Henly Brightman.

North Walsham (from): D Canning, T Browes, G Youngs, R Oakes, D Welsh, J Cherry, C Godwin, D Dejongh, J Duffield, M Hodgson, J Riley, C Anthony, J Milligan, D Smith, J Knight, J Younie, E Sikorski, W Swart.