Diss 24, Colchester 28

A late try condemned Diss to only their fourth defeat of the season in London IN – and their first since October 1.

The conditions were ideal for a game that had the makings of a classic, with two sides eager to show their promotion credentials.

The crowd were not disappointed.From the outset both sides were determined to run the ball at every opportunity.

An early penalty for Diss, caused by a high tackle on Beaird, was converted by the same player.

Colchester responded, putting the Diss defence under considerable pressure,which told when the hosts gave away a penalty, converted by Withers.

Diss, who made a number of changes to the team that had so comprehensively beaten North Walsham before Christmas, looked vulnerable in defence, and didn't seem to have an answer to Colchester's ability to offload the ball quickly.

It was this naivety that allowed Colchester to score the first try. A break down the wing after some quick passing allowed Philp to break two tackles and score. Diss, however, are a different team under Phil Sharpe's management and started to move up a gear. Matt Gardiner, showing his strength at centre, came close to scoring with a few breaks while Chris Craven was stopped a number of times.

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Colchester's counter-attacking strategy often put the hosts on the defensive but to their credit the Diss pack, with the Hall brothers prominent, took the game to Colchester and held them out a number of times.

It was from this defensive platform that Diss scored just before half-time. Rickie Holt, in his first game for some time, started the move with an arrowed pass to Farrar, who flighted the ball to Gardner. With one step he gave the ball to Giles West, whose turn of pace was too much for the Colchester defence as he stepped inside to score under the posts, Beaird converting.

Colchester opened the second half by scoring two tries. The Diss defensive line, lacking when quick penalties were taken against them, were left looking at space after quick inter-passing moves between the Colchester backs.

With their confidence soaring Colchester were taken aback when Diss then scored successive tries through Rickie Holt and West, the latter after a fine kick over the Colchester defence from Tom Holt. Both tries were converted by Beaird.

The remaining 20 minutes were tense, with both sides counter-attacking. Colchester finally broke down the redoubtable Diss defence with a kick along the wing for the winger to touch down with two minutes remaining.

Diss will learn from this, and with a full squad available next week, Sharpe's men should quickly return to winning form.