Diss 5 Rochford 60: Margin of defeat is tough to take for battling Diss
- Credit: Archant
A points margin of 30 points would have been a fairer reflection of this battle between sides at the top and bottom of London One North.
Diss played with a passion and spirit that rattled the league leaders as they took an early lead and a heavy defeat was tough to take.
Early exchanges were dominated by the hosts and Peter Bray was surprisingly denied a try following excellent handling from Warren Wiley and Chris Beaird.
Almost immediately the Diss forwards attacked through the ruck, with Matt Richards and Michael Jones both breaking tackles in order to release George Jones and Warren Wilby through the midfield. Shaun Blyth received the ball with two defenders still to beat and duly obliged to give the home side a deserved early lead.
Rochford replied immediately, combining backs and forwards alike, with tries being scored by David Rafai from open play and Stuart Wattling from a driven line-out. Diss refused to take a backward step however, with the likes of Beaird and the returning Sam Jacobs both leading by example.
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Rochford secured their four try bonus point just before half time following further tries from Rafai and then a beautifully worked score ftom winger Sam Edwards. Diss responded superbly, opening the game up with Marco Mongia and George Jones dictating the pattern of play.
With Wilby in the sinbin at the beginning of the second half, Diss defended with total commitment, denying the leaders a further score for a further 20 minutes.
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The younger players really stood up to be counted, with the likes of George Jones, Ali Brooks and George Easton all making telling contributions, with Easton having to move from the back row to fill the centre berth following an injury to Beaird.
Remarkably Diss enjoyed a higher percentage of possession throughout the game. But befitting a side of Rochford's quality, the final quarter saw them breach the Diss rearguard a further four times through Stuart Wattling (2), Mark Billings and Mitchell Bennett.
Rochford will certainly be promoted this season but Diss, despite being 10 points adrift at the foot of the table, should feel confident for the future with the younger squad members all maturing rapidly as the season develops.