Norfolk’s leading clubs go head to head in an early derby encounter

North Walsham on their way to an emphatic victory over Fullerians in their opening match of the seas

North Walsham on their way to an emphatic victory over Fullerians in their opening match of the season at Scottow Picture: HYWEL JONES - Credit: Archant

There's a big local derby match to look forward to on Saturday as Norfolk's two highest ranked clubs go head to head.

Diss play host to North Walsham in a London 1N showdown, with the home side looking for an overdue win after losing both fixtures last season, 36-34 at Mackenders and 53-19 at Scottow.

Walsham opened the campaign last Saturday with a resounding 59-0 home win over Fullerians while Diss were beaten 55-5 away by a strong Colchester side.

Although he has no serious injuries to concern him Vikings' coach Johnny Marsters will nonetheless have some changes to contemplate.

With lock Ryan Oakes and flanker Dan Bird both unavailable, new skipper Will Hodgson, free and eager to play again, will replace Oakes in the second row. This might seem to some a strange decision, given that he played the latter part of last season in the back line, but his preference is to play up front.

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Will Swart, who came off the bench last week, will take the blindside spot vacated by Bird. Jake Duffield, who was not considered for the Vikings last week due to a slight hamstring strain, played a full part in the Raiders game and came through unscathed, is likely to take a place on the bench. The slot vacated by the departing Josh Brown should go to fellow Kiwi Taare Ferris who, having only stepped off the plane from New Zealand a couple of days earlier, made an impressive debut for the Raiders, his hard running and uncompromising tackling yielding him four tries before sitting out the final quarter. The final slot on the bench goes to Raiders' skipper George Rossi, deservedly so following a good pre-season.

The Raiders, who completed their pre-season with a solid win over Norwich Lions, travel with the Vikings for their first Greene King EC1 fixture against their Diss counterparts. With a blend of youth and experience in the squad, who have trained hard in pre-season, they know that the season opener will be a tough one.

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The Raiders will kick-off at 2.30pm and the Vikings at 3pm.

North Walsham (from): F Scott, T Knight, D Canning, W Hodgson, M Travers, W Swart, C Godwin, R Miller, L Thomson, M Hodgson, J Riley, J Knight, T Ferris, D Smith, B O'Hickey, N Rokodinono, G Rossi, J Duffield.

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