North Walsham face a tough test on their return to league action
- Credit: Hywel Jones
North Walsham return to action after their week off when they head to Brentwood for what is likely to be as tough a game as the respective league positions would suggest.
The Essex side finished last season in third place, 14 points adrift of Tring, who made it in to the play-offs but stumbled at the final hurdle. Remaining in London One North has seen in dominant form with a flawless record and they look certain to be promoted.
With six games remaining, Brentwood are 12 points adrift but could still be caught by Chingford, who, along with Tring they play in the final two weeks of the season, so will be determined to maintain the gap.
The Vikings, who sit fairly comfortably in fourth, have little prospect of getting into the play-offs but nonetheless will want to make a statement of their own.
In the game at Scottow the Vikings were knocked out of their stride by the early loss of skipper Ryan Oakes and the 18-3 defeat was largely due to a loss of continuity. Recent games have shown how much the squad has matured and coach James Brooks has worked hard to get the players to keep their focus for the full 80.
The layoff will have helped any injuries to heal and prop Tim Weber should be back in the mix.
Mark McCall is returning to training from a foot injury, but this could be a week too soon for his recall.
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Chris Godwin, who missed the Fullerians game with illness, is back so Oakes could return to the second row with Tom Knight, Ed Sampson and Mike Rouse competing for the final two slots up front.
With all the back line players available it is difficult to see where Brooks will make changes other than a simple rotation of a couple of players.
The Raiders were due to return to league action after last week's cup game, but unfortunately opponents Dereham are struggling with an acute player shortage and are unable to fulfil their remaining fixtures.
Meanwhile, North Walsham Raiders progressed to the semi-finalss of the Woodfordes Norfolk Bowl, a competition for the county's second teams, following a hard fought 24-7 home win over contest with Diss on Saturday. They now have an away game at Norwich on a date to be agreed.