Pride of Norfolk at stake as rivals go head to head

The Norfolk rugby season reaches it's climax on Sunday when National League rivals NorthWalsham and Diss go head to head for the third time this season.

The Norfolk rugby season reaches it's climax on Sunday when National League rivals NorthWalsham and Diss go head to head for the third time this season.

This time they are meeting in the final of the Woodforde's Norfolk Senior Cup, and the showdown at Scottow (3pm) should certainly be one to savour.

At the end of a testing campaign Diss finished one place higher than their hosts in National Three London and South East - but they will still have a point to prove at the weekend, having lost both derby fixtures.

Diss and Walsham will be competing for the county silverware for the fourth time in the past 17 seasons. A couple of results really stand out, a monumental 27-27 draw in 2001 and a titanic struggle in 2006, when Walsham won 7-0.

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Diss have had the most successful season in their history and will be eager to put the icing on the cake by taking the trophy back to Bellrope Lane. Walsham on the other hand are in desperate need of something to put a gloss on what has been a very disappointing campaign.

After a season beset by injuries it is good to report that there were no new casualties after the final fixture of the league season last Saturday, when the Vikings drew 15-15 with Portsmouth. Indeed the news that Tom Coller and Jamie Burroughs are fast recovering from their shoulder injuries and are back in training is welcome, coupled with the return last week of Chris Kent, who during his 40 minutes on the pitch showed how much his ball carrying skills have been missed. Both should figure in the squad and it is likely that he and Coller will be in contention for the No 6 shirt.

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Like so many others Lee Sandberg's flight to join the Swedish squad last week was grounded but rightly the coaches stuck with their original selection and Bruce van Poortvliet did an excellent job in Sandberg's absence.

However it is almost certain that van Poortvliet will return to the midfield and is hopeful that he will renew his partnership with Jamie Burroughs if his recovery from injury is complete. Adam Couzens is available and there could be a general reshuffle of the backline.

Tom Holt, who missed last week's game, is again an absentee due to a long standing family engagement.

Diss will be bidding farewell to a couple of their stalwarts, Ali Butler and Andy Thorpe, who enjoyed great success at Scottow and contributed so much in their highlight years while for Walsham it is time to say goodbye to prop Alex Soutar, who has never given less than the maximum and has been a popular member of the Viking family.

Diss go into the final as holders, having beaten Beccles at the same stage last year. They booked their trip to Scottow last Sunday when they beatWestNorfolk 33-19.

They have had a good run in the last few weeks, while Walsham have had a wretched time, but all this will count for little when old rivalries are played out on Sunday.

t North Walsham stage their annual Sevens contest on Sunday, May 2.

Meanwhile this Sunday morning Walsham's youth and mini section have their end of season presentations, with guest Calum Green of Leicester.

He has just been selected for the England Under 20 squad for the Junior World Championships to be held in Argentina from June 5 to 20, and learned his rugby at Scottow.

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