Diss 5, Hertford 44

Still smarting from a narrow and unnecessary defeat at North Walsham the previous week, Diss suffered another setback on Saturday.

The hosts were forced to make seven changes to their side to take on league leaders Hertford, who had rattled up 123 points in three games, and so faced an uphill battle from the start.

Fraser Hall and Steve Hipwell were moved from the pack to the centre pairing, and Adam Williamson started at 10 for the first time since his injury at the beginning of last season. Diss were also only able to field two substitutes due to the amount of injured and unavailable players.

The match started at a tremendous pace, with both sides looking threatening, but after only five minutes Hertford turned over a Diss line-out and with slick hands and straight running full-back Stuart Smart went in under posts for a try and simple conversion. Diss went straight back on the attack and were pressuring the Hertford line when they conceded a free-kick and the visitors were able to clear their lines.

Diss continued to attack and a good forward move culminating in a chip over the opposition from Gideon Roussow was collected by skipper Matt Richards but the ball was lost in contact. After every good move by Diss the ball seemed to end up in Hertford hands.

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A penalty for the visitors was kicked for touch and from the ensuing line-out Diss defended their line from the drive by the opposing pack, only to see the ball whipped down the line for Rob Richardson to score in the corner. The try was not converted. Two more tries were scored by the visitors to give them a 24-point lead after 23 minutes. A feeling of deja vu was evident in the Diss support but the home team rallied and there was no further score in the first half.

The home team started the second half as if they were the form team, with sterling work from Steve Hipwell and Fraser Hall. In fact the south Norfolk side were the first to score when, following a good break from Hipwell, the ensuing scrum on the Hertford line was won and Andrew Horne powered over for a try. The conversion was missed by Aarron Bliss.

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For the next 20 minutes Diss besieged the visitors' line and were held up on three occasions. Pete Bray and Deaglan Hall were replaced by Keith Rix and Steve Macqueen due to injury, but it was not until the last 10 minutes that Hertford crossed the home line for three more tries, again having worn down the defence to create several overlaps.

The Diss in-goal area at the end of the game looked like a scene from a battle area, with various players being treated and the supply of healing ice rapidly diminished.

Great credit must go to the whole squad for their sterling efforts against a very proficient outfit, who rightly stand at the top of the league.

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