North Walsham veteran set for milestone appearance

Stuart Loose in action for North Walsham.

Stuart Loose in action for North Walsham. - Credit: Archant

Stuart Loose looks set to achieve a personal milestone for North Walsham Vikings this weekend.

The prop, who made his debut in the 1993-4 season, will clock up a remarkable 450 first team games for the club.

Of that number, only 14 have been as a replacement. For any player to have played for that length of time, or in that many games, is phenomenal, but to do so in the front row is amazing and although at 38 he has lost some pace his stamina and skill levels have not diminished.

The Vikings – having lost their unbeaten record at Letchworth – are taking on Romford and Gidea Park at Scottow this weekend.

The Essex side, having lost to Letchworth the previous week, racked up a big win over a struggling Ruislip a week ago, leaving them just below halfway in the table.

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Their record shows that, like the Vikings, they are suffering from a degree of inconsistency. Reports from last week's game indicate that with a more clinical approach they could have come back from Letchworth with more than just a losing bonus point.

Yet again the supporters can expect Nick Greenhall to ring the changes as Tom Coller and James Knight, injured last week, and Henry Dewing, Tom Knight, Ryan Oakes and Tim Weber, all unavailable, return to the pool of players up for selection.

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This should provide some head scratching and in some cases selection could be decided by the ability of players to make an impression at training.

Skipper Mike Rouse is away on business and lock Toby Salmon has been selected to play for London Irish in the A team league at Exeter on Monday so will miss this one – which will probably mean Raiders coach Leon Davies or Ian Webster are put on standby.

Although some Tuesday training sessions have been somewhat down on numbers, Thursday has had better figures than for several months, with in excess of 40 of all abilities taking part.

Those numbers at training mean that all players are put through the same drills, allowing for a seamless transition when players are moved into the Vikings, and it has also had a beneficial effect on the performance of the Raiders who this week take a break from league action to welcome Romford and Gidea Park II. Their selection could reflect the rotation of some players from last week's Vikings squad. Their game will kick off at 2.30pm, allowing the spectators to watch the first 30 minutes of the Vikings game.

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