Diss 34, Eton Manor 3
The match against Eton Manor earlier on in the season was intense, controversial and at times ugly. This game however showed a side of Diss that other teams need to be aware of – their ability to dominate a team a few points below them in the league.
On a perfect day for rugby, Diss were quickly on the attack, with the forwards pressurising the Manor defence, and with Deaglan Hall in imperious form, they threatened to overwhelm the London side.
The first score was a penalty, converted by Chris Beaird. The first try was a result of the forwards, galvanised by captain Matt Richards, pinning the visitors down.With some quick handling between Jack Peacock and Will Farrar, the ball found itself being propelled along by Aaron Bliss who outpaced his opposite number and passed inside for the supporting Beaird to score under the posts, Beaird also converting.
Eton did not see the ball for long periods and although they slotted over a penalty Diss soon stretched their lead. The second try of the first half was the result of more concerted pressure, in particular after some fine work by Chris Craven and Alistair Abercrombie in the line-out. The ball was passed out to Simon Cooper, Richards and then to Bliss who scrambled over with some artistry to score in the corner.
Head coach Phil Sharpe has instilled a winning mentality in all the players and is not afraid to back it up with changes when the need arises. So the second half started with changes taking place in the pack and in the backs, and it had a noticeable effect. The war of attrition between the packs continued, but Diss were able to force Eton back. One such spell of pressure resulted in the third try, with a handsome score from new second row Charlie Crotty. Taking the ball in the loose on the Eton Manor try line, he was able to squirm his way through and lay it over the line.
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Todd Wishart has proved to be a revelation this season, and he was instrumental in providing a platform for the fourth try. After breaking through the Eton defence with a deceptively slow pace, he provided a lovely pass inside for West to gather and pass out to the supporting Farrar, who was able to run and score under the posts, Beaird converting.
The final try of the match was again a result of the forwards dominating their opposition, and providing an immovable platform from which to provide quick ball for the ever improving backs.
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Skipper Richards, sensing an Eton Manor counter attack, intercepted the ball and set off on a sprint. This was only maintained for 20 metres, before a lofted pass over to a supporting Tom Holt, who was able to maintain the momentum and score under the posts.
Beaird converted to complete a comprehensive win against an angry and demoralised Eton Manor side.