Diss 52 Saffron Walden 31 – Messy Badger fails to stop hosts’ charge
- Credit: PA
End to end action doesn't do justice to this game.
After a cat and mouse start to the first half, with both team probing for weaknesses and a stoppage for the removal of what has now been confirmed by head groundsman George Porter as badger droppings, Saffron Walden scored the first try against the run of play, breaking out of their 22.
Both teams were determined to run the ball, but passes did not go to hand as often as they should.
The Blues' first ink on the scoreboard was awarded as a penalty try after shoving the Saffron Walden pack backwards in a show of force when a Saffron player was penalised for attempting to kick the ball in the resulting maul.
Diss' rucking and defensive line continued to cause problems for Saffron, with Frazer Hall, John Laurie and Michael Fuller shutting down all options for the Saffron first receiver.
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At the half-time whistle the game was poised at 7-5 to Diss.
What followed in the second half was a total of 71 points and a match resembling a game of sevens rugby.
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After Saffron lost a prop late in the first half and then their hooker five minutes into the second half, the game was played with uncontested scrums, curiously, with an eight-man Diss pack and a seven-man Saffron pack.
Further problems engulfed Saffron as their fly-half fed an inside ball to their winger who, at the ensuing breakdown, was red carded for stamping, forcing Saffron to play the rest of the game with 14 men.
Tries came thick and fast, with Sean McClure getting another hat-trick with some well-run angles punching through defensive holes and excellent support running. Fraser Hall, George Gooderham and Kieran Pask got in on the act as well. With the forwards securing all gained possession, John Laurie and Jamie Burroughs causing the opposition problems in loose play, Jack Peacock pulling the strings at 10, putting his runners outside him into space, it was a very entertaining second half.
However, Saffron Walden refused to go down easily and scored three tries through good hands and manufactured overlaps on Diss' narrow defence, with Eddie Brown, Mark Kimberley and Mitch Clare touching down in quick succession.
In the final minutes Diss had the last say and, to add the finishing touches to a fast-flowing second half, Kieran Pask put Josh Ludkin in for a try with a sublime 'out of the back of the hand' off-load.
Diss look forward to their next league game against South Woodham Ferrers after some mid-week kicking practice.