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Still some room for improvement for North Walsham despite big win

PUBLISHED: 08:46 27 September 2019

Rob Ward touching down for Fakenham in their win over Thetford on Saturday Picture: MIKE WYATT

Rob Ward touching down for Fakenham in their win over Thetford on Saturday Picture: MIKE WYATT

Mike Wyatt ABIPP

After a stuttering start North Walsham overturned a 13 point deficit to seal a big win over Chingford at Scottow last week but coach Johnny Marsters will be looking for a more focussed performance at fifth placed Old Haberdashers on Saturday.

Ben Bond-Webster scoring the first of his two tries for Norwich Union in last Saturday's 53-8 win over Norwich Medics Picture: RUSS CLARKEBen Bond-Webster scoring the first of his two tries for Norwich Union in last Saturday's 53-8 win over Norwich Medics Picture: RUSS CLARKE

The hosts, who finished fourth in London One North last season, albeit 29 points behind the Vikings, have made a decent start with two wins from three games and should provide stern opposition.

The squad should be strengthened by the return of No 8 Donavin Dejongh and hooker/flanker Ethan Sikorski, both missing last week due to work commitments. On the negative side Marsters loses James Cherry who has gone to university.

Ed Sampson, who stepped in to replace the injured Chris Godwin last week and turned in a man of the match display, might find it was not enough retain his place as Sikorski has also produced some excellent performances. Prop Dane Canning, who was replaced last week with what looked like bruising to his upper arm, is making a good recovery but might be rotated to the bench, with Tom Browes taking the start.

In the back line James Knight, who was doubtful last week due to work commitments but was able to take his place on the bench, will almost certainly start at full-back, allowing Dan Smith to return to the wing. This would leave Marsters with a choice of Tom Younie or Jordan Mustard for the third slot on the bench.

North Walsham (from): D Canning, T Knight, T Browes, G Youngs, R Oakes, D Bird, W Swart, D Dejongh, E Sikorski, E Sampson, J Duffield, M Hodgson, J Riley, C Anthony, J Milligan, D Smith, J Knight, J Younie, J Mustard.

After two home wins, Norwich travel to South Woodham Ferrers in London Two North East with a side little changed from the first two games. SWF are a very difficult side to play at their home ground, which is renowned for being muddy, and the wet weather this week should suit them down to the ground.

Norwich's first two wins were on hard pitches which suited their style of play and they had outstanding performances in both defence and attack, conceding only 10 points and scoring 94.

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"We will have to be able to adapt to the conditions if we are to come away with a win," said director of rugby Dave Everitt. "We should go into the game with confidence as we continue to develop under Lee Parry's careful planing.

"This game will test how far we have come, having put a huge amount of effort into planning and training."

Norwich welcome back Deane Anderton to the team after a couple of seasons' absence and he will be a powerful addition to the squad.

Norwich are one of four teams in the division who have won both of their games so far, the others being Diss, Wymondham and Southwold.

Diss, who appear to be flourishing under new coach Nick Greenhall, are at home to Saffron Walden on Saturday while Wymondham travel to Stowmarket and Southwold host Epping Upper Clapton.

Holt travel to Romford and Gidea Park following their abandoned game against Ipswich last week. The fixture was called off after 47 minutes, with the visitors leading 38-10, because of a neck injury to an Ipswich player which thankfully proved to be nothing serious.

The game will be replayed October 12.

Fakenham play their first away game of the season in London Three Eastern Counties after two home wins when they visit Thurston. Fellow 100 percenters West Norfolk and Ely are at home to Ipswich YM and Crusaders respectively while Beccles travel to Cantabrigian and Thetford entertain Wisbech.

In Eastern Counties One North North Walsham Raiders, who were denied a game last week when opponents Wymondham II were unable to raise a side, play Norwich Medics at Lakenham Hewett's ground. The side will be skippered by Ben O'Hickey, for whom this will be a farewell performance before work commitments take him to the Bristol area. The squad is boosted by the availability of Liam Clarke and George Isbell, who have had work commitments so far, and there is a welcome return for prop/flanker Seb Roberts who missed the whole of last season recovering from a broken ankle.

In other games the second teams of Wymondham and Diss meet at Barnard Fields, Watton host Norwich Union and Norwich II entertain Holt II.

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