North Walsham should travel to Saffron Walden with a stronger squad

North Walsham apply some pressure during a tough game at Eton Manor on Saturday which saw them slide

North Walsham apply some pressure during a tough game at Eton Manor on Saturday which saw them slide to a 41-21 defeat. Turn inside for a report. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

Disappointing though the result was at Eton Manor last week it was no surprise that North Walsham struggled with a much changed squad, but the margin of defeat was less palatable.

Some if not all of the players who were unavailable last week should be back in contention for selection for Saturday's trip to Saffron Walden.

The return of Tom Browes and possibly that of Tim Weber will increase competition for the front row and Todd Scotland, who failed to pass fit last week after a brief training session, will come back in to contention and is likely to play alongside Ryan Oakes in the second row. That will give coach James Brooks the decision of who from Matty Norfolk-Clarke, Ed Sampson and Tom Knights will have a slot on the bench.

In the back line James Knight, hopefully clear of work commitments, and outside half/full back Ben O'Hickey, if cleared by the medics to resume playing having spent time out after a concussion, could both return to the squad.

Having been handed two away games to end the year the Vikings will be on the road again this Saturday. Saffron Walden are having a dour season, losing 68-0 at Scottow back in September. They have just two wins and a draw to their credit and sit three from bottom with a 10 point gap to Diss above them. Last week they suffered a 101-0 defeat at the hands of Old Priorians.

They will be determined to get back on track and could be dangerous opponents, with Brooks likely to be warning against complacency.

The Raiders. who picked up the full five points for their win at Gt Yarmouth-Broadland last week. will be at home against Norwich Union who ran them close in the away fixture. They should be boosted by at least a couple of the players who travelled with the Vikings to Eton Manor. The Warriors, who called off last week, will travel to Holt with their numbers hopefully boosted by some returning students.

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Holt will be aiming to get back to winning ways in London Three Eastern Counties when they travel to West Norfolk. They have lost their previous two games, at leaders Southwold and at home to Ely, to drop down to fourth in the table, 11 points adrift of the top two.

Saturday's opponents West Norfolk are fourth from bottom after losing eight of their 11 games so far.