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Walsham wary of being over-confident against cup final underdogs Norwich

North Walsham celebrate after winning the Norfolk Senior Cup final at Holt in 2017. Picture: Hiywel Jones

North Walsham celebrate after winning the Norfolk Senior Cup final at Holt in 2017. Picture: Hiywel Jones

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North Walsham may well be favourites to continue their Norfolk Senior Cup dominance but the Vikings know they can’t afford to be complacent against Norwich in tomorrow’s final.

The match will be head of rugby James Brooks’ last before joining National League One club Old Ethamians as a coach, helping to establish a full-time professional academy in partnership with St Mary’s University in Twickenham.

Having led Walsham to fourth place in London One North last season and sixth this campaign, the former Northampton and Wasps fly-half – and England sevens international – is moving closer to friends and family in south London. First his squad take on a Norwich team who finished third in the league below them though, and who beat Diss 8-5 to reach the final.

“We’ve spoken about that over the last couple of weeks, I don’t really know what happened in that game but for Diss it really was a banana skin, so we’re not going into it under-prepared,” said Brooks.

“We’ve got people leaving the club and going on to different things who want to go out on a high and that comes with a good performance, so the boys are really pumped for it.”

Last season the Vikings beat Diss 43-26 during the final at the Big Rugby Weekend at Holt and Brooks says he has enjoyed his two years in Norfolk.

“I guess the first year finishing fourth and this year in sixth is a little bit disappointing but ultimately we’ve had some bad injuries along the way,” he added.

“Unfortunately at this level if you lose a couple of front-line players they’re hard to replace, which is probably reflected in the sixth-place finish.

“We’ve always been competitive with the teams above us, maybe a couple where we’ve been on the wrong end of a big score but moving forward the score is young, is competitive and I think over the next two or three years some of those boys are going to really blossom into a strong first team who can be within a chance of promotion, or at least a chance of a promotion play-off place.”

Brooks will be without prop Tim Weber, who damaged ankle ligaments during the 46-7 loss at Colchester two weeks ago, and wing Jordan Mustard who needs a scan of his knee injury.

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