Norwich kick off London 2NE campaign with tough home fixture

Nick Austin hands off an Ipswich opponent during Norwich's narrow 19-17 win in Suffolk on the last d

Nick Austin hands off an Ipswich opponent during Norwich's narrow 19-17 win in Suffolk on the last day of last season. Picture: Andy Micklethwaite - Credit: Archant

Norwich start their league campaign tomorrow with a tough home fixture against Chelmsford, who have been playing in London One for the past couple of seasons.

The home side have trained hard during the summer and fitness levels have been shown to be good during their pre-season campaign, where they put 50 points past both West Norfolk and Holt, and 60 points past London 2NW opposition Enfield Ignatians.

They know that Chelmsford will provide a sterner test in a London Two North East league that shows no weak teams, meaning that a good start will be vital to launch their campaign.

'The hard work during pre-season showed in the warm-up games and the players are looking forward to starting the league this weekend,' said coach Jonny O'Brien, whose side are now the only representatives in the division following Diss' promotion and Holt's relegation.

'The new additions to the squad have brought added quality and experience. The return of Paul and Dave Micklethwaite and Matt Selby has strengthened the forwards no end.

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'Pip Scott and Chris Parrott as captain and vice-captain have led the team well in the three pre-season games. The wins have given the team confidence for Saturday's match but they are well aware that Chelmsford will be a tough first game as they look to rebuild after being relegated last season.'

There's a new look to the next step down in the RFU ladder following the creation of the regionalised London Three Eastern Counties Division during the close season.

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This will give teams from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire teams the opportunity to compete for promotion without the need to travel all the way down to Essex for a game, with teams in that county also having their own league.

Holt have dropped down into the new section, while Thetford have moved up from the old Eastern Counties One. Tomorrow's opening day fixtures include Crusaders v Lowestoft & Yarmouth, Southwold v Wisbech, Stowmarket v Holt, West Norfolk v Thetford and Wymondham v Newmarket.

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