Swaffham and West Norfolk end 31-year wait as rivals finally meet in senior league action
Fierce rivals Swaffham and West Norfolk will finally lock horns in their first senior league encounter tomorrow.
Last season's Greene King Eastern Counties Division Two champions, formed in 1982, had never played a Division One game until last weekend – let alone face the 88-year-old Wests with points at stake. But that's exactly what will happen at North Pickenham Road in what's sure to be a spicy derby on a historic day for rugby in the west of the county.
Swaffham chairman and assistant coach Ian 'Spike' Milligan said: 'It's huge. I was talking last night to one of our ex-captains, a long-term member of the club, and his comment to me was he's waited an awful long time to see this game. He actually didn't think that he would ever see Swaffham playing West Norfolk in a competitive league fixture.
'He cannot wait. He's probably more pumped up and more buzzing for this game than the players are. The players have got a next-game mentality, to a degree, but he's there thinking of all the years he's played for our club and he cannot wait.
'There's lads there who have played against each other as they've gone up from the minis. As a club, we've looked over to the west and seen what they've achieved and what they've got and that's what we aspire to be. It's going to be a massive, massive game and it just raises the profile locally of the game.'
Swaffham, who didn't lose at home last term, suffered a 46-21 day opening-day defeat while West won 30-3 at home to Southwold. Despite those results, and their higher-level experience, Wests skipper Lawrence Savage insists his troops are not overwhelming favourites going into to tomorrow's second round of fixtures.
He said: 'I think it's more even than people suspect. We're confident in our own abilities but we're still a young squad that's blending itself together.
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'We're well aware that Swaffham have got some big players who can cause real damage if given the opportunity. We're very aware of the fact that they're 18 months unbeaten at home. So they come in strong favourites, in my mind, while they're at home, so we've got a big challenge ahead.
'What's imperative from our side is to start well and get them on the back foot early otherwise it's going to be a long afternoon.'
- For more big match build up, visit www.edp24.co.uk/wnsp to hear this week's West Norfolk Sports Podcast