Wymondham and Holt both in with chance of landing London SEC title
- Credit: Archant
The battle for the London Three Eastern Counties title is set to reach an exciting climax tomorrow - with three teams still in contention.
Ely go into the final weekend of the campaign on top but having completed their fixtures they are probably the underdogs, with Wymondham and Holt both breathing down their necks with one match to play.
Ely, who were handed a walk-over by scheduled visitors Ipswich YM last week, lead the way on 81 points with Wymondham second on 79 and Holt third on 77.
The final weekend of what has been a good, competitive season sees Wymondham at fourth-placed West Norfolk and Holt at third from bottom Woodbridge.
Wymondham will be champions if they win, but should they slip up in a tough game then Holt would finish top with a bonus point win in Suffolk. If both Norfolk teams come unstuck then Ely will be champions.
There will be a consolation prize for the team finishing second in the shape of a promotion play-off against East London, the runners-up in the parallel London Three Essex League.
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North Walsham play their final home fixture against first-time visitors HAC, or to give them their full title Honourable Artillery Company RFC.
The visitors have had an excellent first season at this level, winning 14 of their 24 games to sit in fourth place, 25 points adrift of the Vikings.
Their half-back pairing are both ex-Vikings. David Treglown went through the junior ranks at Scottow before playing some 35 first team games while Ollie Hardisty played a dozen or so times in the 2011/12 season.
Mike Braans played his last league game at Southend and will miss the last two games, but Andre Dunn has recovered from the problem that caused his late call-off and will return in the centre, with James Knight going to full-back. Flanker Chris Godwin aggravated a shoulder injury and sat out the final hour at Southend and will be rested.
Head of rugby Johnny Marsters was pleased with the performance of both Liam Clarke and Tom Younie who stepped up from the Raiders to the bench last week and could give a shot to one or two others this time around.
North Walsham (from): L Brown-Bates, W Swart, T Browes, G Youngs, D Bird, R Oakes, J.Duffield, M Hodgson, D Smith, J Knight, A Dunn, J Riley, J Milligan, R Miller, D Canning, N Rokokodinono, G Rossi, T Younie.
Having gone desperately close to only their second win of the season, Diss travel to fourth from bottom Ruislip looking to build of the positives of their 20-19 home defeat against Sudbury last time out.
Norwich hold their annual Back to Norwich Day, with the president's game in the morning before the first team fixture against Harlow kicks off at 3pm.
Harlow will be fully motivated as they will have a chance of avoiding relegation if they win with a bonus point.
Director of Rugby David Everitt said: 'Last week at Basildon (5-66) was a good all-round performance. The problems we have been having with the line-outs were sorted, which gave us good front-foot ball that the backs were able to capitalise on, resulting in 10 tries.
'If we are to finish our campaign on a high we must have a repeat of that performance in front of what is expected to be a large crowd. The way that Lee Parry has got the squad to play in his first season with us has been based on a sound defence, patience and the ability to move the ball wide when it is on. This has meant that we have had some very exciting games and has laid the foundation for a bright future.'
Norwich, who could finish fourth if they win, will be without Pip Scott and Mike Lawton.
Southwold round off a solid first campaign at this level with a trip to Stowmarket.
Beccles will be aiming to clinch promotion to London 3EC with a game to spare when they travel to closest challengers Hadleigh in the Shield. The Bulls lead the way by seven points so even if they were to lose at the weekend they would still have another chance to clinch the title at Colchester III the following weekend.
Norwich Union host Newmarket while in the Plate North Walsham Raiders visit Ipswich II with a nine point lead with two games to go. They should be strengthened by the return of Fijians Vilikesa Vurewa and Eroni Tuimoala and speedy backs Will Minchin and Harrison Stiles.
There is also a big match at Holt, with top two in Eastern Counties 2N going head to head. Holt seconds lead opponents Watton on points difference after 17 games, with both on 73 points, and the winner at the weekend while be crowned champions.