Norwich and Diss prepare for derby showdown

Norwich's Richie Rhodes ploughs thriugh the mud at Braintree last Saturday. Picture: Andy Micklethwa

Norwich's Richie Rhodes ploughs thriugh the mud at Braintree last Saturday. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite - Credit: Archant

A mouth-watering local derby is in prospect at Beeston Hyrne tomorrow when Division 2NE leaders Norwich take on Diss.

The hosts are well aware that this will be one of their toughest games of the season so far, with Diss also in a good run of form.

They currently lie fourth in the table and are just seven points behind Norwich, so spectators should be in for a treat when the two Norfolk rivals go head-to-head for the first time in a number of years (2.30pm).

Slippery cloying mud at Braintree last week caused Norwich to adapt their game but they will know that a far better performance will be required this weekend if they are to prevail over a Diss side that have improved steadily as the season has progressed.

Norwich will be without hooker Tom Whiskin for a second week and injuries to Stu Sepping and Mark Fernie mean that Si Darby will move into the second row to partner captain Gareth Leake. Dougie Greenwood will present a powerful presence on the blind side flank.

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Jordi Walker returns to the starting line-up and Jonny Wheater, who had an impressive game for the Lions last week, is on the bench. Stuart Cameron makes a welcome return after a long injury absence, having also performed well for the Lions in their win over Watton.

Coach Jonny O'Brien said: 'We were disappointed with our performance at Braintree but it has been a useful wake-up call. The players know that a performance like that will not be good enough against Diss. This week's game presents us with a different challenge and will give us an idea of where we are in our progression plan. We know we have to be a lot better but we are really looking forward to the game'.

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Diss have found a winning formula and over the last four weeks and have produced a very confident and determined playing style that has stretched and challenged their opponents to the extreme.

Head coach Roger Coombs is able to select a strengthened side with John Laurie starting in the back row and Michael Fuller playing from the bench following an ankle injury.

The Diss forwards have yet to be seriously challenged in this league and will be hoping to dominate Norwich and then release their three- quarters with quality ball on the front foot. At times during last week's 22-0 win against Enfield Ignatians Diss took the ball through too many phases before releasing it. Against a side like Norwich, Diss will have to be more precise and accurate regarding the execution of attacking ball.

One of the most encouraging signs this season has been the blend of youth and experience developing within the squad and this should be a factor tomorrow.

The Dai Evans Memorial Trophy, named in honour of the former Norwich president who died 10 years ago this month, will be up for grabs tomorrow.

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