Rugby preview: North Walsham ready for tough test at Amersham

Jim Riley offloads during another North Walsham attack at Ruislip. Picture: Hywel Jones

Jim Riley offloads during another North Walsham attack at Ruislip. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

North Walsham face stiff opposition again on Saturday when they travel to play Amersham & Chiltern, who currently sit in third place.

Having been promoted at the end of the 2015-16 season the Buckinghamshire side found the pace a bit too hot and dropped straight back down to London One North.

This term they have been in the top three or four for most of the season and last week's defeat at Eton Manor was only their third, with the others coming at the hands of Chingford and Fullerians.

When they travelled to Scottow back in October the result was a 21-21 draw so coach James Brooks will have a fair idea of how the game is likely to pan out.

When Brooks sits down to select his side he will have a big hole to fill as inside centre Hal Riley has been approached by National League Two North side Stourbridge and has agreed to make the transition to the higher level.

Riley, who along with brother James joined from Holt in the close season, has made a huge impact in the brief time he has been at Scottow, scoring seven tries in his fourteen appearances.

The shuffle to fill the gap is problematical as James Knight is out with a broken wrist. One possibility would be to move Mike Braans or Harry Downing into the centre with Ben O'Hickey who can play either at outside half or full back filling their places.

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So far as the rest of the squad is concerned there appeared to be no injuries last week and so most positions could remain unchanged, although front rower Tom Browes is away which will probably mean a place on the bench for either Acky Downing or Tim Weber.

The Raiders have a second successive weekend off but the Warriors are due to host Beccles seconds.

Holt return to action after a week off on Saturday when they travel to Woodbridge for their latest game London Three Eastern Counties game.

Holt have not played competitively since seeing off Thetford 24-17 at Bridge Road on January 6. Their home match against Newmarket the following weekend was played as a friendly, with the hosts being handed the league points, as their opponents were unable to raise a full side.

A comfortable win at least kept Ed Steed's side ticking over ahead of Saturday's game.