Rugby Union: Wanstead ready for London Two North East derby at Woodford

PUBLISHED: 17:30 07 December 2017

Wanstead in action against Old Cooperians earlier in the season (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Wanstead in action against Old Cooperians earlier in the season (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Borough rivals meet at the Highams this weekend

It will be a historic day at the Highams on Saturday when Wanstead travel to Woodford for the first ever league meeting between the borough rivals.

The sides meet in London Two North East, having never been in the same division before this term — despite the clubs being separated by less than three miles.

The Herons will start the derby as favourites despite being away from home, having lost just once in their opening 10 league fixtures; by contrast, Woodford have only won one of their first 10 league games.

With the local rivals meeting in the league for the first time this weekend, there could be a little more spice added to the clash.

But Wanstead head coach David Wiggins says his side cannot approach the game differently to any other match, even if it is a local derby.

“Of course there are bragging rights at stake, but we just have to treat it like we would any other game — we can’t afford to look at it any other way,” he said.

“It is another potential banana skin for us, but we just have to keep doing what we have been doing; if we don’t, that could allow Woodford into the game.

“Looking at the form of the two teams, most people would say it should be a comfortable win for us, but it rarely works out like that.”

The derby against Woodford this weekend is the penultimate game of 2017 for Wanstead, who end the calendar year at home to Epping the following weekend.

Victories in both of those games would be enough to see the Roding Lane North club end the first half of the season in second place, which Wiggins believes would be a real achievement for the Herons.

“We have two games left before Christmas, which I see as the end of ‘Phase Two’ for us, and if we were to be second by then, it would be brilliant,” he added.

“I told the boys when I joined in the summer not to be surprised if we do so well this season.

“We aimed to be in the top five by now, so the prospect of being second going into the Christmas break is good.”

When Wanstead take to the pitch at Woodford this weekend, it will have been two weeks since their last outing in the league.

The Herons will hope the break has done them the power of good and that they head into their final two games of 2017 with their batteries recharged.

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