Walsham ready for a fresh challenge

LONDON 1N: North Walsham will be aiming to follow up last Saturday's encouraging win at local rivals Diss with another victory tomorrow when they take on newly promoted Hammersmith and Fulham at Scottow.

The visitors are complete unknowns as far as the Vikings are concerned.

The London side were promoted from London 2 North West at the end of last season and have had mixed results in the two games played so far.On the opening day they were defeated by Diss 36-7 but last Saturday they defeated Old Colfeians 44-24

Coach Nick Greenhall will have to concentrate on eliminating the errors and sharpening up on the shortcomings in his team's game plan.

This season he has set out to rotate players in as many positions as possible so there will certainly be changes in the pack, where he has cover for most departments.

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Prop Tim Weber is off to university so either Robin Praat or John Pymm is likely to step in to the tight head slot.

The second row of Iain Beck and Grant Furlong seem settled but the bench replacement could change.

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Chris Kent missed the Diss game with a hamstring problem for which he was still receiving treatment early in the week so might miss out again. No 8 Andy Tibbatts is unavailable so Gerald Hegarty is the most likely cover, with Tom Coller moving on to the flank.

The backs are likely to remain pretty much as last week with wing Elder Grobbelaar, who scored twice on his debut, holding his place but Adam Dye, who had an outstanding game for the Raiders last week, is likely to take over at full back

Greenhall feels the Vikings can make their presence felt at a lower level, with last week's victory at Diss providing some evidence that there could be better times around the corner following recent relegations.

'We lost a few players during the summer but we also brought some new ones in,' he said. 'The squad is looking good although we could probably do with strengthening the back division a little. We are certainly stronger in the forwards at the moment.

'It's too early to be setting any firm target but I would certainly be expecting us to be challenging in the top half of the table.'

The Raiders, who had a good win over Crusaders, head to Holt to play the Owls in a Merit Table game.

Diss will be keen to put the Walsham defeat behind them, and focus on the excellent performance against Hammersmith and Fulham, when they travel to Colchester for their first away fixture of the season.

It will be a tough test, though, with Colchester having last week won 29-15 at Bury St Edmunds, the side who beat Walsham at home on the opening day of the season.

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