North Walsham resume London One North campaign with trip to Sudbury
- Credit: Archant
With the Christmas and New Year break over North Walsham resume their effort to get into the play-off place in London One North with a visit to Sudbury on Saturday.
Fixtures between the clubs go back over 30 years but there was a break when Sudbury played their rugby at a higher level than the Scottow side.
A slide down the divisions meant that regular meetings were only resumed relatively recently and in those it was the Vikings that came out on top.
This season Sudbury have struggled but are currently lying in 10th place thanks to having recorded their four wins over the sides below them in the table.
In their mid-September meeting at Scottow the Vikings were made to fight for every point and it was not until the final quarter that they finally stretched away for a 37-22 win.
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Coach Johnny Marsters will have to make some changes as both Will Swart and Mike Braans have gone home for a break and lock Ryan Oakes has family commitments.
These absences probably mean that Tom Knight will resume as hooker and with Lachlan Brown-Bates looking certain to keep the No 1 shirt, the tight head slot will be contested by Tom Browes, Neumi Rokodinono and Dane Canning.
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Man of the match against Diss Matt Travers will almost certainly remain in situ in the absence of Oakes. The back line could well remain unchanged but with Ben O'Hickey and Rob King available and Dan Smith nearing a return from long term injury Marsters has choices.
North Walsham start the year third in the table, just three points adrift of Colchester who they visit on January 19 for what could be a pivotal game. Leaders Rochford Hundred look strong favourites to claim the automatic promotion spot after winning all 14 of their games so far while scoring almost 900 points.
The Raiders, who despite having a much-changed side ran out convincing winners against struggling Lowestoft & Yarmouth in the final game of 2018, resume against Norwich Medics at Lakenham Hewett's ground.
Coach Aaron Beaumont will be hoping to have a more stable line-up but could employ some players back for the vacation as well as promising junior Tom Hepburn who has recovered from broken bones in his hand.