Sibling rivalry addes spice to North Walsham clash

Harry Duffield crosses for North Walsham at Brentwood. Picture: HYWEL JONES

Harry Duffield crosses for North Walsham at Brentwood. Picture: HYWEL JONES - Credit: Archant

North Walsham will be looking to put the disappointment of last week's defeat at Brentwood behind them tomorrow but must also build on the positives.

It was no disgrace to lose to a side placed higher up the table but to have seen a decent half- time lead whittled away needs to be reflected upon.

No doubt coach James Brooks will have analysed the video of the game and identified the shortcomings and have addressed them in training for tomorrow's home match with Eton Manor.

The East London side have, like the Vikings, had a satisfactory season in London 1N without ever threatening the promotion or play-off places, although it might have been different for the visitors but for a run of four defeats in five games at the start of the year.

The result will really be about bragging rights as with the Vikings fourth on 71 points to Manor's fifth with 68 a win at the weekend and a decent run in is all important.

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Added spice to this game, as it was in the away fixture, will be the sibling rivalry between Vikings' skipper Ryan Oakes and his older brother Matt, who has been regular in the Manor back row. In addition there will almost certainly be a return to Scottow for club president Dave Horne's son Rhys, who was back in the Manor side last week for the first time after a long lay-off with a hand injury.

Selection will no doubt hold some problems for coach Brooks, some forced and some due to possible need to rotate players. Up front there could be a change in the front row, with Tim Weber starting. No 8 Will Hodgson took a heavy blow to the shoulder last week but came through Tuesday's training so should start. Flanker Ed Sampson is away so the choice to fill the slot is likely to be between Tom Knight, Chris Kent and Tom Coller.

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The loss of Mike Hendry last week after a late fitness test led to a wholesale change in the backs with young Will Findlay making his first start at nine and Jake Duffield going to full back and Josh Brown coming in. Hendry is poised to return while winger Jordan Mustard has recovered from illness.

The Raiders, who were without a fixture last week, host table toppers Fakenham, who look destined for a well deserved promotion.

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