Vikings v Old Albanians Match Preview (A)- 13/04/24

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North Walsham Vikings head to St. Albans this Saturday to meet Old Albanian in their penultimate match of the season. Niall Lear will be taking a squad showing changes compared with that defeated by Wimbledon. In the pack there are fitness doubts about Ethan Holmwood and Tim Weber but John Clarke and Ewan Kingdon return, the latter after participating in the Hong Kong Sevens, whilst Niall is likely to give debuts to George King and Josh Wilson, both of whom recently joined from Norwich. Amongst the backs Norwich School’s Freddie Snary will get his first start at full back and there will probably be a debut in the centre for Gresham’s Ed Jay with skipper Dan Smith moving to his preferred wing position.

OAs are based on a modern 30 acre sports facility which includes Premiership side Saracens’ training complex. National League veterans, they’ve played at this level for 14 consecutive years, including two in National One. Eleventh with ten wins, they’ve been bolstered by 19 bonus points, 15 for scoring four or more tries. They’ve won just once in their last five, last week they were defeated 53 – 41 in Guernsey. They play a forward orientated game, exemplified by no 8 Kemp Price being their leading try scorer (11) despite not playing since January. Wingers Oluwaseyi Ajeigbe (10) and Alessandro Ricci (9) follow Price on the list of try scorers, whilst Sam Jones is the League’s sixth highest points scorer averaging 7.6 points per game from the tee.

The Hertfordshire side won 8 – 35 at Scottow in December; the Vikings were 8 – 7 ahead after 30 minutes but OAs subsequently used their big pack to good effect and were clinical taking their scoring opportunities. Since then they have strengthened their squad with a couple of loanees from Championship sides. Of Saturday’s match Niall commented, “OAs are a very physical well drilled side. It’s a hard one to call; we’re already relegated and they are outside the promotion and relegation zones, but we’re looking to end the season with more wins and I’m sure our opponents will be of the same mind.”

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At North Walsham Rugby Club, our 1st XV (Vikings) are playing at National 2 level. Mini and Youth Rugby caters for Under 6s to U18s. Three Senior Men’s teams. Senior Women’s in affiliation with UEA ladies rugby. Four Girls teams Under12s, 14s, 16s and 18s.


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