Rugby: North Walsham RFC and Diss RFC both hit the road in London One North
- Credit: Archant
A week off this early in the season is unusual but it will have given North Walsham's players an extra seven days to recover from knocks and scrapes picked up against Ruislip before they resume their programme with a visit to Woodford tomorrow.
Like the Vikings, the Essex side had a successful 2011-12 season, gaining promotion via the play-off route. But their season so far has been one of disappointment as they have just one success, a narrow win at Tabard, to their name, and in each of their last three games they have shipped 60 points or more leaving them rooted at the foot of the table.
The reasons for this slump can only be guessed at but it is possible that they have lost players to local rivals. However it would be foolish for anyone to assume that this will be anything other than a tough game and those with long memories will recall the times that Walsham have travelled to play a struggling side and come away the losers.
Nick Greenhall will have the bulk of the squad he fielded against Ruislip to select from but definitely out is Stuart Loose who will be at Welford Road, home of Leicester Tigers to watch son George, and the remainder of the Under 10s he helps to coach, playing in the Prima Cup. His place is likely to go to Aki Downing or Dom Roberts.
Also unavailable is scrum-half Dean Blyth who has come off the bench in the last two games and made an immediate impact. It is difficult to see any changes to the back line if full back James Knight has recovered from the head wound sustained in the final ten minutes of the last match.
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It will be a landmark day for wing Shane van Vuuren who makes his 100th appearance for the Vikings. The South African joined the club at the end of the 2006-07 season but missed most of the next two seasons, having broken his leg in a pre-season game. But since then has been pretty much a fixture in the side and last season was voted Player of the Year.
Having struggled with a depleted squad thus far Greenhall will be delighted that both Jack Hoyles and Chris Borrett are back in training, Hoyles is now free of farming commitments while Borrett is available after his break following the end of the cricket season.
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The Raiders, after a return to winning ways in a friendly at Fakenham resume their Woodfordes Merit Table campaign with a visit to Dereham.
n Diss resume their battle to pull away from lower reaches of London 1N when they travel to Romford and Gidea Park tomorrow.
Simon Hill's side have only won one of their nine league matches so far this season but the good news is that there are still two teams below them in the shape of Old Haberdashers and Woodford.
Tomorrow's opponents are only eight points above them, so an away win would give Diss a real boost in their battle against the drop. They lost 28-9 at home to high-flying Chingford in their previous match.