After four consecutive away matches North Walsham Vikings return to Scottow Park this Saturday for the visit of Sevenoaks. Those four game have seen steadily improving performances resulting in their first League points of the season and Niall Lear is hopeful the improvement will continue this weekend. “Our young inexperienced squad have worked hard all season and we’ve improved incrementally since the turn of the year, but we’ll need to do so again against a team who’ve had some impressive results lately.”
The Kent side lie in tenth place with seven wins from 16, three of them in their last five including narrow victories over top four sides Barnes and Bury St Edmunds. They’ve won away just once, at Wimbledon in November where the Vikings drew last week. Another side with a big pack they do the basics well, kick effectively out of defence and take their scoring opportunities. In Ben Adams they have the League’s second highest points scorer: 189 including five tries. Wingers Barney Stone and Drew Forrester have 15 tries between them, whilst scrum half Finley Davenport has touched down five times.
There are a couple of changes to the Vikings’ squad. Harry and Leo Langbridge return meaning Pieter de Lange will start on the bench and Ross Magnus resume his centre partnership with Dan Smith, whilst Henly Brightman has recovered from illness and is expected to be amongst the replacements alongside Ethan Holmwood. After beginning consecutive matches on the bench Harry Steward will start on the wing instead of Wes McGuire.
Fixtures between the two sides only began in 2021 – 22 when both Clubs were promoted from London & South East Premier. Since then the Vikings have won three of the five matches but were soundly defeated there last October. 9 – 15 ahead just after halftime they then conceded 36 points in as many minutes. “We’re a different team now,” said Niall, “but Sevenoaks have improved too. Hopefully we can build on the last few games, become more consistent and do the basics well. It’s going to be an interesting game.”