Diss take big step towards title after beating rivals

Diss saw off title rivals South Woodham Ferrers on Saturday.

Diss saw off title rivals South Woodham Ferrers on Saturday. - Credit: Archant

Diss took a giant step towards winning the London Two North East title when they saw off their closest rivals in a wonderful game of rugby.

The visitors immediately took the game to the side who started the day just one point behind them and Kami Latu forced his way over after good work from John Laurie and Steve Hipwell, with Sean McClure converting.

Producing a level of continuity and cohesion not seen so far this season, Diss tore the home side apart across all areas of the field. Woodham did reduce the deficit with a penalty but this had no effect on the league leaders.

McClure increased their lead with a well struck penalty to set up a second quarter of relentless pressure. On 20 minutes, following sustained phases of ball retention between the forwards, Matt Richards crashed over from close range, McClure again converting to give the visitors a 17-6 lead. South Woodham did well to not concede again before the break as their rivals piled on the pressure.

The home side totally changed their game plan from the start of the second half. Rather than trying to play an expansive game they used their loose forwards to drive closer to the rucks and mauls, thus putting Diss on the back foot.

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The Diss defensive structures stood firm until Laurie was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle. Eventually pressure and a lack of numbers told, with Woodham scoring a converted try out wide. The momentum had changed and Diss now had to dig deep to repel the sustained pressure they found themselves under.

The Diss eight were also not in control in the scrummage and following a sustained series of attacking scrums, Woodham were awarded a penalty try and with the score at 22-20 to Diss, the game was now finely balanced.

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Diss did rally somewhat in the final quarter to relieve the pressure and McClure missed a relatively simple penalty that would have made it more comfortable before Woodham were awarded a penalty on half way exactly at full-time. They decided to go for goal to win the game rather than run the penalty but the kick was missed.

The two best teams in the league had produced surely the game of the season so far, with the entire Diss team stepping up to the mark defensively in the second half.

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