Vikings must take their chances
With nine games left and having dropped back down into the relegation zone, it is imperative that North Walsham Vikings take their chances. Until a few weeks ago there could have been few clubs that were nervous about coming to Scottow, but following the wins over Canterbury and Ealing and the narrow defeats at the hands of London Scottish and Cinderford, attitudes may well have changed, writes Tony Marcantonio.
With nine games left and having dropped back down into the relegation zone, it is imperative that North Walsham Vikings take their chances.
Until a few weeks ago there could have been few clubs that were nervous about coming to Scottow, but following the wins over Canterbury and Ealing and the narrow defeats at the hands of London Scottish and Cinderford, attitudes may well have changed, writes Tony Marcantonio.
It is reasonable to assume, therefore, that Saturday's opponents Bridgwater and Albion, having won the away fixture 46-0, would at one time have marked this one down as an away banker, but they may now have second thoughts.
Walsham have a good home record against the Somerset side who currently lie mid-table with nine wins and eight defeats. Having won all five encounters at Scottow and with the crowd behind them, as it has been in recent weeks, they could well keep that record intact.
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With last Saturday a rest day, coach Dave Smith gave a run out to one or two squad players in the Raiders' game at Holt. Centre Will Farrer looked sharp and, while Iain Young also had a decent game, he left the field early having taken a knock.
Eager to get more fitness under his belt after his long lay-off, Gideon Rossouw opted for a game in the back row allowing Mark McCall and Al Turner to share the hooking duties. With no other injury worries there seems just one possible change from the side that lost to Barking, Tom Holt reclaiming the wing slot from Young.
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Kick-off is as usual 3pm.
The Raiders are also scheduled for a home game against Richmond with a 2.15pm kick-off.
North Walsham U14 34, Lowestoft & Yarmouth U14 0
Having beaten their opponents 58-0 in a friendly three weeks earlier the North Walsham side went into this Norfolk Cup quarter-final in the knowledge that they could almost guarantee a win, but they also knew from the previous encounter that their opponents would fight tooth and nail to unsettle them.
Playing with the strong wind at their backs Walsham were soon on the board with a third-minute try in the corner for George Catchpole who, by the eighth minute, had crossed twice more for a hat-trick and converted the second. The game was effectively over as a contest on 15 minutes when No 8 Hal Burton-Payne stole the ball at a line-out to drag a couple of defenders over the line and five minutes later made a pick up from the base of the scrum to power over.
Again the L&Y lads came out all guns blazing in the second half and came close to a deserved score when their impressive No 8 was held up just short of the line.
Walsham, having made key changes at half-time with Hal Burton Payne and Ben Place making way for some less experienced team mates, and Max Moore moving from scrum half to flanker, lost some of their shape and the quality of their rugby noticeably dropped while their opponents pinned them in their own half for long periods.
As a result there was just the one score midway through the second half when George Catchpole touched down for his fourth try.
Walsham will now face the winners of the Diss v Wymondham game (away) on March 2.