Vikings boosted by return of key men

NATIONAL LEAGUE 3 LONDON & SE: North Walsham are set to welcome back some key players as they bid to break into the top half of the table. Tomorrow's visitors to Scottow are Dorking, who lie two places and eight points above the Vikings, so victory could be vital to Walsham's hopes of a top seven finish.

North Walsham are set to welcome back some key players as they bid to break into the top half of the table.

Tomorrow's visitors to Scottow are Dorking, who lie two places and eight points above the Vikings, so victory could be vital to Walsham's hopes of a top seven finish.

The Surrey side, promoted last season, have never played at Scottow before and Walsham will be keen to avenge the 10-5 defeat suffered at Dorking earlier in the season.

The sides were evenly matched on that day and it was one of the tightest games of the Vikings' season so far. Walsham spent much of the last 10 minutes camped in the Dorking 22 and the final plays were close to their try line.


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Last week's defeat at Basingstoke showed that Walsham can still play decent competitive rugby even with a depleted squad. Many of the travelling support felt it was one of the best team performances of the season.

With injuries healing, a stronger side should take the field tomorrow. Prop Alex Soutar has been out for a month with a neck injury and should return, but it could be from the bench if Shaun Woodhouse is available. The near veteran prop made his return last week and was more than competitive in the set pieces and rampaging in open play.

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Leon Davies is due to return from work duties and will almost certainly start in the second row alongside Tom Coller, who continues to impress with his all round play.

Pena Sokia missed last week with a groin strain and may need another week, while Matt Oakes may be asked to forego university life for a second weekend. There is news of a couple of new signings in the offing to cover the back row.

If Iain Young, who missed last week with a hand injury, is fit he could return at full-back with Adie Ball on the wing. Another absentee last week, Lee Sandberg, is available but if Alex Graf-Grote, like Oakes, can return from university, there could be a hard choice to make as he was outstanding at Basingstoke.

t Diss face an important clash against a side just below them in the table, Portsmouth, at Mackenders tomorrow.

It is a welcome return to home action for the Blues after a nine-week absence and they will be keen to bounce back from last week's defeat at Bishop's Stortford.

Portsmouth are two places and four points behind Diss and victory is important for the Norfolk side as they strive to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle.

Diss had the chance to win when they played down at Portsmouth, but the hosts managed to emerge with a 22-17 win.

Ali Butler is injured, so the pack has been rejigged, but Pete Chartier returns after injury in the back line.

There is no match for the Saracens as Portsmouth are unable to field a team.

The thirds are playing at Mackenders against Norwich Medics.

Diss head the table, eight points ahead of their opponents, and the squad is strengthened with the inclusion of some Saracens players, while Steve Hipwell is playing again after his long injury lay-off.

The fourths are away at Crusaders. Diss are eight points ahead of their opponents and take a large but athletic squad up to Norwich.

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