Walsham ready to go again

Three weeks ago North Walsham narrowly failed to secure automatic promotion to National League Two, a single point defeat at Southend causing deep gloom among players and supporters alike.

Three weeks ago North Walsham narrowly failed to secure automatic promotion to National League Two, a single point defeat at Southend causing deep gloom among players and supporters alike.

But wounds have healed and tomorrow they get a second bite at the cherry when they play Nuneaton in the play-offs - with Walsham at home by virtue of a better points record.

As usual, director of rugby Jon Curry will be keeping his selection quiet until the last minute, but it is well known that he will be without Andy Gowling and Andy Steele, who have returned home to the Southern Hemisphere, Will Hughes, who is on a sponsored cycle ride from Land's End to John O'Groats, and Chris Borrett, who is embroiled in the cricket season.

The likely candidate to replace Gowling is Jamie Burroughs, but the choice of outside-half is still the subject of some discussion outside of Curry's coaching team, although he and his backs coach have probably made their decision.


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With Borrett unavailable Tom Youngs is likely to come into the centre alongside Andy Dickson with Chris Godwin favourite to fill Hughes' position on the wing.

The pack is so settled that it is difficult to see any change, with props, skipper Stuart Loose and player-of-the- season Tim Groom maintaining their ever-present record.

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However, if Curry is forced into changes then young Deaglan Hall could figure alongside Kenny Dodds in the back row, with the Kiwi threatening to ceremonially burn his boots after what will now definitely be his last game as he heads into retirement.

The Midlands side will be an unknown quantity. although it is certain that Curry will have sought, and received, information on their players and style of play.

Like Walsham they moved up through the league structure, spending a similar length of time in the Northern Division as Walsham have in the South, although they have had a taste of life at the higher level.

At the end of the 2002-03 season they were promoted as champions and in their first season finished third. Last season was less successful with relegation coming on the last Saturday when, against the odds, Harrogate won and the Nuns failed to survive by a single point.

Coached by former Premiership player Chris Tarbuck and with former Leicester and England internationals Tim Stimpson and Darren Garforth within a strong squad, they have bounced back, finishing second to the “rich boys” of the division, Bradford & Bingley.

Kick-off, as usual, is 3pm, but spectators are urged to arrive early as, with Nuneaton promising to bring four supporters' coaches, this will be the biggest crowd at Scottow for years. There is plenty of car parking space available within the ground, parking on the highway is not permitted, and spectators are also asked not to park on the surrounding lanes.

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