Vikings Match Preview v Henley (A) – 23/09/23

09/21/20230
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The Vikings are on the road this weekend travelling to Henley for the fourth game of their National 2 East campaign. Still seeking their first victory, Niall Lear’s squad is unlikely to show many changes from that which played Dorking. He expects though to give a debut to former Easton College student winger Tawanda KandeMwa, who has returned to Norfolk from Hartpury University where he played for their British Universities & Colleges Super Rugby side, and during the Summer was a member of the British Universities 7s squad. There will be some shuffling of front row personnel: Mark McCall has an injury that requires at least a week’s rest and Callum Coyne has returned to Bishop’s Stortford after his one match loan.

Henley, who finished sixth last season, lie fifth in the embryonic table following bonus point home victories over Guernsey and Bury St Edmunds and a defeat at Old Albanian. The Bury match was last weekend, when according to their correspondent, they put in a “sensational all round performance” to win 37 – 21. They prefer to play an expansive brand of rugby and in Max Titchener they have one of the best goal kickers in the League – third highest points scorer last season with 216 points. “It’s another hard game, Henley are a well-structured and talented team,” said Lear. “Nevertheless, our performances have improved week on week and I’m sure we’ll see another improvement this week.”

Henley have played at National 2 level since 2016 – 17, following a single season in National One. This will be the eleventh match between the two clubs, finding themselves in the same League last year after a gap of 25 years. It was one apiece in 2022 – 23, the Vikings winning the Scottow encounter in September 29 – 23, their first victory of the season, but the Oxfordshire side victorious 42 – 40 in a 12 try thriller at Henley in March which included tries for Ethan Holmwood and Dan Smith.

Meanwhile the Raiders make the short trip to Wymondham for an Eastern Counties One fixture, whilst the Warriors take on Holt 3rds at Scottow.

Paul Morse

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