Diss 10 Rochford Hundred 3 – Latu’s charge seals crucial win for Diss
- Credit: John Bulloch
Diss eked out a deserved and morale-boosting win against a determined Rochford side in London 2NE.
League positions dictated that this was always going to be a close fought encounter, with Rochford attempting to usurp third position from their hosts.
Difficult conditions under foot and an easterly wind dictated the pattern of play for most of the game, with the first half being error strewn, with both sides struggling to retain a consistent level of possession.
On eight minutes, following a period of phased possession, Diss entered a ruck illegally, allowing Jon Fitzpatrick the opportunity to convert the penalty to give the visitors a deserved lead.
Diss now found themselves under intense pressure for the remainder of the half, unable to string together any meaningful structure to the game and all too often losing possession in the tackle or in most aspects of loose play. But throughout the game Diss adopted a much improved defensive strategy with Matt Cullum, Jon Trede and Jamie Burroughs all setting a fine example that inspired the whole side.
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Diss immediately attacked at the start of the second half, with Jack Peacock and full-back Sean McClure using the conditions to their advantage and the introduction of Tim Groom having an immediate effect.
From a defending scrummage just outside the Diss 22, Diss asserted telling pressure for the first time in the game and on 48 minutes were awarded a penalty inside the Rochford 22. Phillip LeLievre slotted it over to bring the home side back into the game with the elements now firmly in their favour.
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Rochford now found themselves not only facing a blizzard but a rejuvenated Diss team, responding to the tactical improvements made since half-time and playing with more tempo and accuracy.
From an attacking scrummage 10 metres out Kimi Latu picked up to initially be forced wide. However, through sheer strength and determination, Latu recovered his composure and charged through numerous tackles to secure the vital touchdown. McClure stepped up to convert to the delight of the Mackenders faithful.
A further penalty attempt on 75 minutes was missed by McClure but the game had been won, with the home side showing true grit in grinding out a deserved and confidence building victory.
With Sudbury winning comfortably at South Woodham Ferrers, Diss remain third in the table, two points behind the Suffolk side with four games left to play.