The leading rugby teams from Norfolk and Suffolk clash this Saturday with North Walsham Vikings making the short trip to Bury St Edmunds for the second round of matches in National League 2 East. “It’s going to be another tough one, but all games in this League are” said North Walsham’s Director of Rugby Niall Lear. “I was encouraged by last week’s performance by a young, untested team. We’ve had some very positive training sessions this week and I’m sure that positivity will translate onto the pitch.”
There will be changes in the Vikings’ lineup from that defeated by Worthing, a lineup likely to include just five players who featured when the sides last met in February. Ross Magnus and Harry Steward both return to a squad which includes Australian newcomers Harry and Leo Langbridge, the brothers having recently finished their seasons with North Brisbane in the Queensland Premiership. Also making their debuts are two returnees to the area: Wes McQuire, from amateur Rugby League, and Norfolk & Great Witchingham cricketer Hudson de Lucchi who has joined from Loughborough Students.
A late penalty gave Bury a 21 – 20 home victory over Old Albanian in their opening fixture, scoring two tries to their visitor’s three. Reports suggest it was an error strewn game, perhaps typical of early season. The Suffolk side look to have brandished the cheque book with reportedly 14 new signings against six departures. Those signings include centre George Loose who learnt his rugby in the Youth & Minis at Scottow and Langley School and was the Vikings’ Young Player of the Year last season.
Bury, who have been in this league for nine years without yet mounting a serious promotion challenge, finished fourth in 2022 – 23 with 18 victories including the double over their Norfolk rivals. The Vikings put in one of their best performances in the away fixture, losing 36 – 27 having got themselves to within two points as the match entered the final play. In February, however, Bury ran in seven tries in a 47 – 12 win memorable for the quality of their offloading.