North Walsham’s fate is in their own hands
With so much hinging on the final league game of the season, a large band of supporters are expected to take to the road to get behind North Walsham as they face a difficult game at Bury St Edmunds tomorrow.
There are several permutations which could decide where the Vikings play their rugby next season so the obvious thing to say is that this is a must win game. And the good thing from Walsham's point of view is that if they do win they will stay up, with the sides immediately above them in the table – Brentwood and Rochford – playing each other
Having had a late run of six successes over mid to lower placed sides this will be the toughest encounter of the last two months. Bury, who won the seasonal opener at Scottow back in September, have had an outstanding season and would probably have been in the play-off spot occupied by Colchester had they not had 25 points deducted for administrative errors.
The Vikings' record breaking win over relegated Braintree must be consigned to the record books and this game must be treated as a one off. What is known about Bury is that they are the top scorers in the league with over 1,000 points to their name and have the second meanest defence. But their record shows four defeats and three draws so they can be beaten.
Although Nick Greenhall will have done his homework on the Suffolk side he will know from the stats that his message to the players will be that first up tackling is crucial.
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As has happened over the past few weeks the coach will keep changes to a minimum.
The pack is almost certain to be unchanged as Gerald Hegarty is still away. The forward replacements could be subject to change if Keith Fowles is passed fit following his hamstring injury but Tim Mason who was front row replacement can also cover the back row. He is likely to rotate the scrum halves, giving a start to Ollie Hardisty over Dean Blyth but it will be a close call.
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In the backs there is some doubt over the availability of Stephen Hyde but there is cover available if needed. With Chris Borrett swapping rugby kit for cricket whites there will be a change at full back but England student David Treglown could fill the berth.
The Raiders travel with the Vikings to play a friendly against Bury 2nds and are trying for an early kick off.
There is no final day anxiety for Diss, who are set to complete a highly satisfactory league campaign with a fourth placed finish already assured.
Phil Sharpe's side travel to take on already relegated Hammersmith and Fulham looking for their 16th win in 26 games.