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Neil Dachtler says good start is vital for Sudbury against London 1 North leaders North Walsham

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Neil Dachtler will send his Sudbury players out against London 1 North runaway leaders North Walsham at Whittome Field on Saturday (3pm) with a powerful reminder that a good start is vital, writes Ken Watkins.

The Vikings, beaten just once this season, are 22 points clear at the top, with 19 wins from 20 games under their belt.

Sudbury, seventh after the weekend’s 29-24 win over Woodford, are the only team to deny Walsham a try from open play this season.

Sudbury head coach Neil Dachtler Picture: Richard Marsham
Sudbury head coach Neil Dachtler Picture: Richard Marsham

“We took them close up there,” Datchler said. “So we have got to have aspirations to beat them at home. But we have to start well.

“If you don’t start well it’s always going to be hard to get back into the game.”

Sudbury were beaten 13-7 at North Walsham in November, the Vikings getting a penalty try in a hard-fought game.

Brentwood are the only other team to keep Walsham under 20 points, losing their home game 13-10 in January.

Harpenden inflicted the Vikings’ only defeat, 31-29, in November.

“We know Walsham are coming down for a proper game. They know we took them close at theirs, so they are not going to take us lightly,” Dachtler said.

“They are a semi-professional sort of outfit that wants to win the league in a good way. Even if we beat them they are still going to win the league.

“We know it’s going to be hard work. It is just another game, but it’s a chance for us to pick up points and get closer to those who are in front of us. There’s a long way between us and those behind, but not that big a gap to those in front. We haven’t taken our eye off the top six.”

The victory over Woodford, the match having been switched to Eton Manor’s plastic pitch as Woodford’s High Road ground was waterlogged, lifted Sudbury to seventh, above Southend, whose home match against Amersham & Chiltern fell victim to the weather.

But Sudbury made hard work of beating the bottom but one team. “We wanted to start on a good firm foot, but we didn’t,” Dachtler said. “We let them in, let them get their tails up. We knew we had to be with them to half time or we knew they could get away from us. We stayed with them until half time, and I knew eventually we could get the win. We did have to sweat for it, but we knew our fitness would tell.

“Dick (Sumner) and Lee (Cooper) will be working hard in training with the boys to make sure we get that mentality of finishing when we get into the right areas. I’ll be working hard with the defence to make sure we don’t let North Walsham get going. If we let them get going, we know we are in trouble.”

Sudbury Talbots’ opening Eastern Counties Division One Shield home match against Cottenham, and Sudbury Tigers’ Division 2 South home match against Woodbridge II fell victim to the weather.