Tough test for North Walsham

Shane van Vuuren in action for North Walsham Vikings against Romford.

Shane van Vuuren in action for North Walsham Vikings against Romford. - Credit: Archant

Having climbed to fourth in the table thanks to their solid second-half performance against Romford and Gidea Park last weekend, North Walsham Vikings face a much sterner task on Saturday when second-placed Colchester come to Scottow.

The Essex side were among the front-runners last season before tailing off in the final few weeks, eventually finishing third, and have made a good start this time around.

Their opening day defeat, by a single point to promotion favourites Eton Manor, has been followed by four good wins, including a 67-7 beating of Ipswich who had held the Vikings to a draw the previous week.

Their record over the Vikings, though short, is impressive, registering three wins from four meeting, with the Vikings' sole success coming at Scottow in January.

If they are to take anything from this game they will have to display a ruthless streak that has been strangely absent for long phases thus far. Nick Greenhall was unhappy with some of the play in the first half last week, noting that seven times play was taken into the Romford 22, and each time possession was lost. He will also be looking at the video to establish why there was a big hole in the defence, allowing Romford to score what was a simple try.

However, he was pleased with the turnaround in the second half in which Romford were allowed few chances to improve on their half-time lead.

Last week's squad showed a lot of changes and this week's will probably be no different. Hopefully, Stuart Loose will have recovered from his back injury to make his 450th appearance, but so well did Aki Downing play that he could hold on to the shirt for the start.

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Back for selection should be prop Tom Browes and lock Toby Salmon. There could be a doubt over the fitness of Pena Sokia, man of the match last week, who failed to finish the game with a suspected broken nose.