London One North: High-flying Eton Manor coming to North Walsham as Diss prepare for basement battle
06:30 17 January 2014
North Walsham will be aiming to bounce back from last week’s narrow defeat at Letchworth Garden City when they welcome high-flying Eton Manor to Scottow tomorrow (3pm).
The North London side have always been fierce competitors and their record this year is the best in the league.
Although they lie in second place, one point behind Westcliff, they have a game in hand and are mainly separated by the five additional bonus points the leaders have claimed. Having lost just twice, to Chingford and Letchworth, both away, they have the meanest defence in the league having conceded just 160 points in their 15 games.
The away defeat early in the season against Manor came at a time when the Vikings were really struggling with player numbers which in turn affected morale. Since then both problems have receded somewhat and coach Nick Greenhall should have no problems in motivating his players this time around.
The absence of outside half David Treglown last week meant that the back line was somewhat unbalanced but he should be fully recovered and ready to take his place which, if everyone else is fit, might mean a drop to the bench for young Cutu Serruys, who has shown great skill in his first senior season.
Up front last week it was good to note the return of prop Ben Campbell, his brief lay-off obviously beneficial as his man of the match award attests. Tomorrow there could be an earlier than expected return for Chris Godwin after injury. Contrary to reports pre-Christmas No 8 Tom Williams did not head off to the southern hemisphere after the Diss game but will do so after this one.
He will be greatly missed for his wholehearted commitment and skill.
The Raiders, boosted by a couple of experienced players including Chris Borrett, and newcomers Wayne Williams and Tom Knight, returned to winning form against local rivals Holt last week and are due to play Lowestoft & Yarmouth away in a rescheduled Woodfordes Merit Table game. Borrett is unavailable but Ted Morgan, another product of the youth system, was rewarded for a good spell with a run off the bench for the Vikings last week, will step back in at outside half.
n There is a big match at the bottom of the table with Diss visiting the one side below them at present, Old Haberdashers.
The Borehamwood-based club are 10 points adrift and will be aiming to close that gap with the boost of home advantage.
Diss, who have lost twice since their fine win over North Walsham just before Christmas, are still in touch with Tabard and Woodford above them, and could move out of the bottom two with a win.
- For all of this weekend’s fixtures, see today’s Eastern Daily Press or Norwich Evening News.