Diss 43, Romford and Gidea Park 8

Diss opened their London Division One North campaign with a comprehensive home victory over newly promoted Romford and Gidea Park on Saturday.

An unsteady start by Diss was not capitalised on by the visitors and the first scrum saw a change in the power struggle which from then on went very much the way of the hosts.

The resulting infringement by the Romford pack saw Diss rumble up the pitch for Matthew Oakes to touch down.

The open game blueprint that Diss have been working on pre-season showed throughout the game and as they attacked with growing self belief, Romford resorted to repeated infringements in an attempt to slow the game. But it was no avail as prop Pete Bray dived across the line in another well supported phase of play to score and Chris Beaird converted.

On 24 minutes the Romford seven was yellow carded for a second dangerous tackle and the penalty resulted in Beaird scoring again, taking the score to 15-0.

A moment of indecision from Beaird in gathering a speculative kick then saw the visitors touch down just before half-time.

This score, very much against the run of play, was the catalyst for the hosts to turn up the pressure and show how much the pre-season fitness work with coach Simon Cooper has benefitted them.

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A quick score resulting from a scything run by Warren Wilby, converted by Beaird, stretched their lead and the only time Romford were allowed back in the game was for a poorly conceded penalty.

Michael Fuller broke the line to set up the next score for Deaglan Hall. The team has clearly come together, running some intelligent lines and from this, Wilby was again involved in the next line break that set up Adam Rogers for his first score for Diss. The final five minutes of the game showed just how far captain Matthew Richards has matured, leading by example from the first whistle.

His final decision was to take the scrum from a five metre penalty that saw the final try for Diss scored.

Head coach Phil Sharpe believes there is still more to come from his side, saying: 'We still have a number of players to return to us from work commitments and know that this will make us stronger as the season progresses.

'We are aware of what we need to do to keep moving forwards but are obviously very happy to get a win to start the season.'