North Walsham’s relegation battle could go to wire
North Walsham's revival continued at the weekend when they recorded a third straight victory – but they still face a tough battle to avoid a second successive relegation.
The Vikings won a tight game against Ruislip but still dropped into the relegation zone as rivals Rochford Hundred picked up a bonus point win.
With three sides going down it promises to be a nailbiting end to the campaign, with three – or perhaps even four – clubs battling to avoid joining relegated Braintree at a lower level next season.
Hammersmith and Fulham are hot favourites to finish second from bottom, standing as they do six points behind North Walsham with just three games to go.
Chingford, currently eight points better off than the Vikings, should survive even after conceding a century of points on Saturday, which means Walsham and Rochford are likely to be fighting for one place in London 1N over the next few weeks.
Each have two away games and one at home to play, with both travelling to face sides in the top half of the table tomorrow.
While Rochford visit Eton Manor Vikings head down to Essex for the sixth and final time this season aiming for another win and hopefully a much needed bonus point when they face Brentwood. Sitting just inside the top half of the table on points difference Brentwood pushed Diss all the way last week and will hard to break down.
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In the pre-Christmas meeting the Vikings had to be satisfied with a single losing bonus point as they went down 12-19.
Changes to the squad will hopefully be kept to a minimum as consistent selection has been a big factor in the recent run of successful results. Hooker Mark McCall missed last week having suffered a broken toe in the Norfolk Cup game and must be considered doubtful but Ben Campbell is a versatile front rower who can both prop and hook.
If there were no injuries it is unlikely that there will be any changes in the backs although Henry Dewing was forced off in the final few minutes of the Ruislip game with a shoulder injury and won't be available.
The Raiders, who have been staging a big revival in recent weeks, are due to travel to face old rivals Diss.
Meanwhile the Diss first team will be aiming to continue their impressive run of form when they travel to already relegated Braintree.
The Essex side have lost all but one of the their games this season and were hammered 128-0 by Bury St Edmunds last weekend.
Diss have won their last four matches and have fourth place sewn up, but they will be taking nothing for granted, even though they are likely to give a few of their younger players a run-ut.