North Walsham pay a heavy price

RUGBY: North Walsham paid a heavy price for their efforts against Ampthill last Saturday with injuries denying them the services of two key players, probably until the end of the season.

Hooker and top scorer with nine tries to his credit, Mark McCall left the action at half-time with an arm injury later diagnosed as a fractured forearm which necessitated the insertion of a plate to aid recovery.

The other loss is winger/full back Adie Ball, another who has been in try-scoring form, he lasted until near the end of the game – which ended a 42-5 defeat – with a broken finger.

Although Nick Greenhall has players to cover the loss they are both influential players.

The coach has a couple of options to replace McCall. Aussie Mike Henry who has been doubling up in the back row or recent recruit Tim Mason.

Barry Frost was on the bench for the first half last week and is a natural full back but much will depend on whether Ewan Wilson is able to make the away games.

Although Walsham fell away in the second half against Ampthill the first-half performance was enough to promote optimism as three of the top four sides have all been played twice with just Barnes due to visit Scottow in mid March.

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Saturday sees the first of two away trips, firstly to Staines with Tring a week later. When Staines made their visit to Scottow in October the result was a 15-all draw.

Since then Staines have performed well and are in a solid fifth place some 25 points adrift of Ampthill, their win over Diss last week having lifted them above Bishop' Stortford.

The Raiders, having failed to find opponents last week, travel with the Vikings hoping to make it a double over Staines.

With the Warriors without a fixture, skipper Ian Webster will be looking at some of the younger players who have been figuring in good wins for the third string Diss and Holt in successive weeks.

On Sunday the attention will be on the under 17s who are at home for the visit of Shelford in the semi-final of the Eastern Counties Cup.

This will be their second meeting in a month as having lost at Scottow in the pool stages the Cambridgeshire side qualified for the semis as best runner-up with a win over Norwich. Kick-off on Sunday is at noon.