Vikings revitalised for tough run-in

Last Saturday's win against strugglers Old Patesians ended a five-match losing run for North Walsham Vikings, but they still face a hard run-in to the end of the season, beginning with a trip to Lydney in the Forest of Dean.

Last Saturday's win against strugglers Old Patesians ended a five-match losing run for North Walsham Vikings, but they still face a hard run-in to the end of the season, beginning tomorrow with a trip to Lydney in the Forest of Dean.

The Severnsiders are doughty opponents and for a long time were, like Walsham challenging for honours. But, like the Scottow side, they have fallen away in recent weeks and now lie joint third with Havant, 14 points behind the play-off place.

The sides have already met twice this season, both times ending in defeat for the Vikings and on current form Walsham will do well to redress the balance.

The league meeting in December was settled by a single point, but in the fifth round of the EDF National Trophy in February, Lydney stretched away in the final minutes to win 44-29, earning a trip to Exeter.


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Last week they suffered what many would consider a surprise defeat at Dings, but equally there are those who know that the Bristol side are difficult, as Walsham found, to beat on their own paddock.

Having managed to tighten up what was becoming a leaky defence last week, Jon Curry will be hoping to field as near an unchanged side as possible.

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Up front, he was delighted to welcome back from University openside flanker Deaglan Hall, who should now be available until the end of the campaign.

The second row poses problems, with Josh Reeves still struggling and Ollie Arnold doubtful, having picked up a neck injury last week, a particular shame as he was beginning to find some form after a hesitant start to his season.

The return of Hall allowed Curry to move Pena Sokia back to inside centre, where his tackling was decisive.

However, he could face the rare but not unwelcome problem of who to leave out, with Jimmy Bardgett, available after a week's warm weather training with the RAF side, and Chris Godwin vying for the No 13 shirt.

Adam Gowen, who filled the shirt last week, could drop back to full-back with Andy Thorpe on the wing.

Last week, Walsham fielded possibly the youngest half-back partnership in the National League with teenagers Lee Sandberg and Harry de Stackpool pairing up, but this one may call for more experienced heads to take the field.

Curry, however, is a great believer in the old adage that "if they are good enough, then they are old enough".

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