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Vikings go fully armed for their trip into the unknown against HAC

PUBLISHED: 13:15 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:15 06 December 2018

James Riley in action for North Walsham in their win over Southend Picture: Hywell Jones

James Riley in action for North Walsham in their win over Southend Picture: Hywell Jones

Chasing Rainbows

North Walsham will be heading into the unknown this weekend – as they face a team playing at London 1N level for the first time.

The Honourable Artillery Company RFC – or, as they are more regularly known, HAC – was formed back in 1896 and was a closed club until the early 1970 when it was opened up to non-regimental players and when the league structure came into being played most of their rugby in the Herts and Middlesex Leagues.

They are based at a magnificent facility in the heart of London but many of their games are played at Chiswick where this Saturday they will host the Vikings on their 4G pitch.

Their first season at this level has been very successful with eight wins, a draw and three defeats from their 12 games with a 7-36 loss last Saturday at Colchester having kept the score to 7-10 at half time.

Although the clubs have never met before there is a link as they have in their squad David (Trigs) Treglown who came up through the Scottow Youth and Mini structure, making 35 first team appearances and scoring 208 points.

Walsham coach Johnny Marsters should have few selection problems unless players have personal commitments, as there appeared to be nothing more than minor bumps to worry about.

One expected change could come in the pack where Dan Bird is available to resume, having had a run with the Raiders on Saturday. Any others would be most likely a rotation of the front row.

The Raiders face probably their toughest game for several weeks when they travel to play leaders Beccles.

Diss entertain fellow strugglers Ruislip in a true bottom-of-the-table clash.

Both clubs have found competing at this level very demanding this season and will be looking for a positive result to take into the festive period.

Diss field a side that should challenge the Ruislip three quarters, as long as the Diss eight achieve parity within the forward exchanges.

That said, securing possession has not been a problem for the forwards over the last two weeks – the key issues have been a level of continuity whilst in possession as well as precision when close to the opposition line.

David Smith selects a side that heralds the return of Warren Wilby to the centre. Wilby’s partnership with Andre Dunn will yet again see the back three of Shaun Blyth, Fred Precious and Chris Beaird given quality possession on the front foot. George Jones returns to fly-half and will enjoy the sharp service offered by Marco Mongia.

In the forwards, Serruys Cutu starts in the back row with Nick Garnham returning to No 8. The hard-tackling Matt Cullum and solid figure of Peter Bray will also give the forward effort more ballast as well as invaluable experience when the game becomes tight. George Easton returns to the second row berth alongside inspirational c aptain, John Bergin.

In London Three Eastern Counties, Holt are looking to return to the top after their defeat at Fakenham a week ago when they host Thetford (2pm). Holt II team travel to Swaffham and the thirds are away to Norwich Union II.

Holt are second in the table, level on points with Wymondham, but the leaders are without a game this weekend so the north Norfolk side know anything from their game will see them top the table.

Crusaders – beaten 23-21 at Thetford a week ago – are ninth and will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they entertain fourth-placed Wisbech, who beat West Norfolk 21-15 last Saturday. West Norfolk are at home to bottom club Thurston.

Fakenham travel to Woodbridge, who are one point and one place below them in the table.

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