North Walsham Vikings aim to keep up good work

Leaders North Walsham on their way to an impressive 38-32 victory at Ipswich last Saturday. Leaders North Walsham on their way to an impressive 38-32 victory at Ipswich last Saturday.

Friday, March 8, 2013
4:22 PM

Although last week’s success in their top-of-the-table encounter with Ipswich consolidated North Walsham’s strong position in London 2NE, tomorrow’s meeting with mid-table Braintree (3pm) will be no less important.

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Although they now have a 13 point lead over their Suffolk rivals the Vikings remain well aware that there are still 25 points up for grabs. All too often there is an adverse reaction after a win like last week’s so it is critical that there is no lessening in intensity.

The Essex side, who like Walsham were relegated last year, are one of a clutch of clubs who are crowded in the upper half of the table separated by four points, and although the Vikings won the away encounter by a considerable margin they will have to stamp their authority on the game. However, another event many miles from Scottow could have a major bearing on the race to the title as third placed Woodford take on Ipswich.

After such an intense game as last week’s there are likely to be knocks and bruises to be dealt with and there will inevitably be changes. Tom Williams, outstanding last week, and adjudged by some to have been man of the match, has work commitments but Andy Tibbatts, absent last week for the same reason, is back. Chris Godwin reluctantly rested a hand injury last week and could take another week off but his replacement Gerald Hegarty played well and deserves another run.

Pena Sokia did a superb job on the wing last week although he is now primarily viewed as a back row player and could find himself there this week. Adie Ball is back after a spell preparing for and competing in a triathlon and will almost certainly replace the injured James Knight.

Tomorrow will be a landmark day for Pena Sokia, who will notch up 100 appearances for the club and will earn his coveted green blazer. He would have been joined by second row Chris Kent but Nick Greenhall has decided to rest him to allow recovery from a shoulder injury.

The Raiders, back on form after their first defeat of the season, took advantage of a below strength Wisbech to take their points total over the 1000 mark for the season but face a much sterner test at Diss.

• North Walsham pair Matty Norfolk-Clarke and Freddie Henley-Hunter have both been selected for the English Colleges squad.

The pair, who attend Easton College, will be in the starting line-up on Sunday, March 17 when England travel to face Wales for their opening fixture.

Meanwhile two Vikings players will be meeting head to head at Twickenham in the final of the British Universities & Colleges Sports Cup the following Sunday when Durham University’s fly-half Dave Treglown meets UWIC’s Rhys Davies-Horne.

The pair attended Norwich School together, came up through the Walsham youth and mini sections, and both played for the Vikings before going to University.

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