North Walsham aiming to extend impressive winning streak in London 1N
- Credit: Archant
North Walsham head to Ealing on Saturday aiming to stretch their winning streak in London One North to six when they face Old Priorians.
Games between the sides stretch back just five seasons, with the Vikings winning eight and losing just once, with one drawn game. The stats also show that with just two exceptions there has not been more than a couple scores between them.
The hosts have started the season with two wins out of five, beating Woodford away and Ruislip, who are rooted at the bottom of the table, at home.
Saturday's squad will show several changes from the one that beat Brentwood last week. Joe Milligan is due to return to the centre, allowing Dan Smith to take the wing berth, while up front coach Johnny Marsters will be without prop George Youngs and hooker/flanker Ethan Sikorski, who has work commitments.
It is likely Tom Browes will take the tight head normally occupied by Youngs, with front row cover provided by flanker Will Swart and replacement Frank Scott, now recovered from the foot injury picked up in a pre-season game.
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North Walsham (from): D Canning, T Knight, T Browes, R Oakes, D Bird, W Swart, D Dejongh, E Sampson, J Duffield, M Hodgson, J Riley, C Anthony, J Milligan. D Smith, J Knight, J Younie, J Mustard, F Scott.
Meanwhile scrum-half Jake Duffield is the Vikings' first Coltishall Red Lion player of the month for the new season.
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"Jake's really matured this year and is playing with great confidence," said Marsters. "He's worked very hard at his game so he is now amongst the league's best scrum-halves."
Duffield, 22, who is training to be a quantity surveyor, began in the minis at Scottow aged nine. Educated at Aylsham High and Langley School he was in the Leicester Tigers Academy before making his Vikings debut in March 2016. Subsequently he has made 77 appearances, playing in every back line position.
"Scrum-half is definitely my preferred position now, always in the action," he commented, adding: "When I started in the Vikings we were mid table. We've changed a lot and it's great to see us at the top, we're heading in the right direction for sure."
Holt welcome Ipswich for a re-arranged game tomorrow following the abandonment two weeks ago due to a neck injury sustained by a visiting player who could not be moved from the field of play until an ambulance had arrived. Happily he has made a full recovery.
Holt were losing 38-10 when a halt was called after 57 minutes so will be hoping to build on their better performance in the first half last week before allowing Wanstead back into the game for a 22-22 draw.
"As players gradually return from long-term injuries the squad is getting stronger," commented Holt chairman Martyn Jackson, whose side are still looking for their first win since promotion.
Lakenham Lionesses beat the weather to get a game on at Hilltops on Sunday but were beaten 22-12 by a strong East London Vixens side.
The hosts battled hard to stay in the game and were only three points adrift at the interval after tries from Chloe Travis and Dani Pluckrose. They could easily have been ahead, with two more apparent touchdowns going unspotted.
Lakenham were unable to add to their tally in the second half while the Vixens scored a converted try to seal the points.
There is no Norwich first team game this weekend so attention turns to the Lions, who travel to North Walsham Raiders in the Norfolk Junior Cup.
The Raiders have a good mix of youth and experience and are developing a good squad mentality, as shown last week when they came back from a 45-19 deficit at Norwich Union to a final score of 45-40.
They will be joined by the club's third team the Warriors who host Breckland Barbarians, a side made up of players from Swaffham and Watton, in a double header with points in the Norfolk Merit Table and a place in the second round of the Norfolk Bowl up for grabs.
Norwich A travel to Crusaders II in the Norfolk Plate while Holt III visit UEA in the same competition.
In the RFU Senior Vase West Norfolk play host to London 3EC rivals Thetford.