North Walsham primed for tough battle against Eton Manor
PUBLISHED: 15:21 25 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:21 25 October 2018
Even with just under a third of the season completed there is a clear pecking order developing in London One North.
So tomorrow’s game at Scottow between North Walsham and Eton Manor, third and fourth respectively, has high significance.
Manor have five wins and one draw from their seven fixtures, their sole defeat coming at home against Colchester by a margin of 20-46 last week.
They stand just two points below their hosts, who have won six out of seven, with Colchester also the only team to beat them
Coach Johnny Marsters, now able to take a more hands-on role, will have his squad working hard on the training pitches to ensure they are well prepared for the struggle that is likely to ensue. When he comes to selecting the squad he should be able to do so with a minimum of changes to that which saw off Luton last week.
Up front he has prop Dane Canning and Ryan Oakes, who had a run with the Raiders, back on his radar and it would be a major surprise if they do not figure in his 18. Behind the pack the only likely change is the return to the squad of winger Donavin Dejongh, taking over from Will Minchin who, after promising run setting up a try for Jake Duffield, took a heavy knock and is sidelined for three weeks.
There is a family link between the teams as Matt Oakes, who came up through the age grades at Scottow to make 74 appearances, is now playing hooker for Manor and will be expecting to lock horns with brother Ryan.
The Raiders, who had a comfortable win at Lowestoft & Yarmouth last week, will need to bring in a prop against Norwich Medics. With Nem Rokodinono injured and Dane Canning moving up the indications are that it could be Frank Scott who steps in. Hooker Liam Clarke needs a week off with a back strain, so new signing Ronan Lewis will take over, while following the club’s policy of transitioning youth players into senior rugby there will be opportunities for James Cherry and Luke Morgan to make their debuts.
The Vikings kick off at 3pm while the Raiders’ game will start at 2.15am on an adjoining pitch.
North Walsham (from): D Canning, T Browes, T Knight, L Brown-Bates, W Hodgson, R Oakes, D Bird, W Swart, C Godwin, R Miller, L Thomson, M Hodgson, J Knight, J Milligan, R King, M Braans, D DeJongh, J Duffield.
After failing to make their scheduled game at Amersham & Chiltern last week because of long tailbacks on the M25 Diss return to action with a home game against Southend Saxons. They might just fancy their chances of recording a first win of the season against a side who have lost five out of seven so far.