Diss rugby showdown to savour

There will be much more than just local pride at stake on Saturday when Diss play host to neighbours North Walsham in one of the most eagerly awaited fixtures of the Norfolk rugby calendar.

Weather permitting, a crowd of over 400 is expected at Mackenders as two sides battling desperately to maintain their National League status go head to head.

The Norfolk pair currently occupy the bottom two places in their regional division, having each won just twice all season.

Diss are bottom of the pile, with just 14 points to their name from 13 matches, while Walsham moved above them last Saturday with 15 points from 12 fixtures after they beat Bishop's Stortford 27-13 at Scottow as Diss were losing 23-11 at Havant.

The fact that Diss have suffered three successive defeats at the hands of their National League rivals since gaining promotion adds an extra touch of spice to proceedings – although it's obviously the quest for vital points that is of prime importance.

'It's a game we must win, there's no doubt about that, and I fully expect us to get the result we are looking for,' said Diss director of rugby David Hall.

'We won our last home game, and competed well at Havant last week before being overpowered by a bigger pack, so we will be going into the game in reasonable form.

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'It will be a match between two evenly matched sides but we are at home and I am sure that will be a big advantage for us.

'Players from both sides will be up for it and it promises to be a real Norfolk rugby occasion. I just hope the weather doesn't ruin it.'

The Diss pitch was fine early in the week but with more wintry weather forecast all officials can do is hope for the best, and plan an inspection on Saturday morning.

Despite taking the lead through a try by Warren Wilby and two penalties by Chris Beaird, Diss were not able to hang on to their lead at Havant last weekend.

The hosts scored four unanswered tries in the second half to run out comfortable winners.