Diss bow out of Intermediate Cup despite brave display against Maidstone
- Credit: Archant
As expected Diss found Maidstone very difficult to handle in the regional semi-final of the RFU Intermediate Cup and duly bowed out of the national competition.
Maidstone are undefeated so far this season and quickly indicated their intention of attacking the hosts at pace through their three-quarters.
But Diss held the upper hand all afternoon in the scrummage and driving maul and certainly gave the Kent side as stern a test as they have had so far this season.
Maidstone opened the scoring through Lenny Vandevelde on 20 minutes following sustained and intense pressure from forwards and backs alike. Jonno Skelton stepped up to convert and Maidstone were very much on the front foot.
Diss responded positively but a lack of precision and poor handling allowed Maidstone a second try scoring opportunity that was clinically taken by Alex Eastwood and again converted by Skelton.
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The Diss pack decided to take matters into their own hands and were extremely unlucky not to be awarded a penalty try following total control close to the Maidstone five-metre line. Following this pressure Maidstone attacked yet again and off-loaded the ball beautifully to set up a further try for Eddie Cranston that secured a half-time lead of 21-0.
The majority of the second half was played in the Maidstone half, with Diss attacking at every opportunity through a dominant pack of forwards and a back division that had weathered the initial storm and was now growing in confidence and attacking prowess.
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Sustained pressure at the scrum eventually led to a yellow card for a Maidstone player and from the resulting driving scrummage John Laurie scored. Jack Peacock stepped up to convert and for a brief moment Diss were back in the encounter.
A number of the more experienced Diss players now stepped up to the mark and strove manfully to pull the game around. Fraser Hall, Giles West, Tim Groom and Warren Wilby drove the game forward but unfortunately for the home side Maidstone showed real bite in defence and following a loss of possession on halfway their No8 Ban Brill, who was outstanding all afternoon, scored a solo try to increase the lead to 28-7 with 10 minutes remaining.
Diss continued to persevere but due to a very high tackle count throughout the afternoon succumbed to a final unconverted Maidstone try with only a few minutes remaining.
This was a brave effort from the Norfolk side and one that Paul Hathaway, the Maidstone coach, commented on as being the toughest game they had faced so far this season.
Diss are back in London 2NE action on Saturday when they welcome bottom-of-the-table Braintree to Mackenders.