Walsham play host to fellow-strugglers

Once regular opponents, Barking are North Walsham's visitors this weekend for what is only the second home game of the season, despite it being the fifth weekend of the campaign.

Once regular opponents, Barking are North Walsham's visitors this weekend for what is only the second home game of the season, despite it being the fifth weekend of the campaign.

For the members of the Vikings first team squad it will be a welcome break from sitting on a coach for hours on end and having to perform in front of a handful of their own supporters.

Regular games with Barking stretch back just over 20 years, only coming to an end when they were promoted at the end of the 04-05 season. Their first season in National Two was a good one with a creditable seventh-place finish, but last season they struggled more or less from day one. As the threat of relegation loomed they parted company with their directors of coaching and rugby, Eddie Jones and the long-serving Dean Cutting.

Having re-grouped for the new season and with coaching now in the hands of former winger Peter Mahoney they have, like Walsham, struggled to get a grip and have just three points to their name, from a draw and a seven point losing bonus. Last week they played Luton at home, allowed the visitors a 21-3 half-time lead but came back strongly in the second period, only for Luton to snatch the win with a last minute try.


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While Walsham must fancy their chances of recording their second win of the season they will treat Barking lightly at their peril. Those who have followed the Vikings over the years will be hard pushed to remember a Barking side that did not provide the toughest of tests.

Jon Curry will have to think long and hard over selection this week. He knows that he will definitely be without skipper Andy Thorpe, out for three weeks having been concussed last week, and Will Farrer, out for six weeks minimum with a shoulder injury. Mark McCall, Jake Titterington and Will McLintock also picked up injuries at Cinderford. McCall is hopeful of returning but in Al Turner Curry has a ready made replacement.

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Titterington and McLintock are both out, but he has a choice of props in Jim Kelly and Tom Jones, either of whom would be making their starting debut. Also still fighting to get fit, flanker Chris Godwin may wait a week before making his return. On the plus side Curry will be glad to see the return of Iain Beck, who will be playing his 100th game for Walsham, and Leon Davies. If Godwin is not available then there could be a re-organisation of the back five, possibly with Davies moving into the back row to partner Mike Howard and new signing James Hurlock, with Ollie Arnold retaining his place in the second row.

Behind the pack there is probably a straight choice between Cam Caine and Jamie Burroughs at outside-half. Another new signing, Ryan van Zyll, could take Farrer's shirt, with Ben Nicoll on the wing and Adam Gowen moving to full-back. As usual kick off is at 3pm.

The Raiders, who have had their last two games called off, will also be in action against Barking II.

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