North Walsham entertain Colchester in biggest test of season so far
PUBLISHED: 16:35 27 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:35 27 September 2018
Having started the season with four straight wins, collecting maximum bonus points along the way, North Walsham face their toughest opposition so far on Saturday when table-toppers Colchester visit Scottow.
The Essex side, who have a good record against the Vikings, have racked up 218 points and conceded just 22 in London One North so far, which would indicate that a hard game is in prospect.
What is interesting though is that three of the sides that Colchester have faced – Sudbury, Ruislip and Diss – have all been opponents of the Vikings thus far.
The Vikings will go into this game without the presence of coach Johnny Marsters who is hospitalised with a blood infection. In his absence the club’s chairman of rugby Alan Hepburn will rely on the expertise of player coaches Ryan Oakes and James Knight who are keeping in close contact with Marsters to co-ordinate selection. Both Knight and Oakes were tied up with work commitments last week but return to the starting line-up, Oakes in the second row in place of Matt Travers who suffered mild concussion and Knight in the centre alongside Taare Ferris, who has been out since picking up an injury in the Diss game.
Also back in the starting line-up is wing Dan Smith, again after a three week lay-off. With both Ben O’Hickey and Rob King unavailable new signing Donavin Dejongh, who came off the bench and scored at in the win at Ruislip last week, will start on the wing with Jake Duffield at full back in place of Mike Braans who turned an ankle in training on Tuesday.
Walsham’s second most capped player, Chris Godwin, will clock up his 250th appearance in the Green and Black at the weekend.
The Raiders, who had a hard fought draw against Norwich Lions last week, travel to Wymondham II.
North Walsham (from): F Scott, T Knight, T Browes, L Brown-Bates D Canning, W Hodgson, R Oakes, D Bird, W Swart, C Godwin, R Miller, L Thomson, M Hodgson, J Knight, T Ferris, D Smith, D Dejongh, J Duffield.
Diss also have a tough game at Rochford Hundred, who like Colchester and North Walsham have won all four of their games so far. Diss have just one bonus point to their name after suffering four straight defeats.