Diss Rugby Club seal important victory
Diss 26, Rochford 100 10
As always at this time of the year conditions were perfect for a game of rugby – but all that mattered in the end was that Diss won.
This was not a pretty game or a game for the purists – it was a game of what could have been, accentuated by both teams making basic errors in handling and in the loose play.
The first 15 minutes of play was exceptional only for the number of errors committed by both sides, and a try scored by Rochford after four minutes, which was converted.
With a reputation developing as a running side, Diss clearly had a point to prove, and with some incisive running from Deaglan Hall and James Gowing in support, Diss began to brighten the proceedings and after 40 minutes of unexciting play, scored their first try. Chris Beaird, taking the ball from Gowing on the halfway line, showed a deceptive turn of pace to sprint past two defenders, scoring in the corner.
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However, within minutes Rochford improved their lead with a well-taken penalty, to bring the first half to an underwhelming end.
Phil Sharpe did not look a happy man on the way to the changing room, and clearly his half-time pep talk had some effect on the players.
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Diss began the half marginally more energised and attacked the Rochford pack with a little more aggression, but as in the first half Diss and Rochford's running game was brought to an end by the number of times the ref stopped play, halting the ebb and flow of the game.
The second try of the match showed why Diss merited this victory. Showing persistence and tenacity Fraser Hall, breaking through a number of tackles, kicked the ball forward for Aaron Bliss to chase and he, with a lovely passing movement, was able to move it inside for Will Farrar to lunge over the try line.
This was a defining moment in the game, as it galvanised both sides. Mistakes started to disappear and both sides started to open up. However, Diss proved to be the better team on the counter-attack. With Rochford often kicking away their possession, Diss were able to open up the Rochford defence.
Beaird took the ball to the opposition, supported by Abbercrombie and Deacon, a second row combination that is going from strength to strength, and made the ball available for Holt to spin out to Zac Seward. Fraser Hall, taking a superb line from centre, broke through the defence to score under the posts, Beaird converting.
With confidence returning, Diss now never looked like losing, and Andrew Horne, ignoring earlier irritations, grabbed the ball from the base of a scrum to show a surprising turn of speed which caught the Rochford defence by surprise.
Rickie Holt, in support, took the ball further for Bliss to spin it out for the ever-improving Giles West to score in the corner, Beaird converting.
Not the prettiest of wins, but Diss will be pleased with the points, and with Thurrock returning to Mackenders next weekend, the coaching staff led by Phil Sharpe will have their work cut out.