Good light is bad news for unlucky Diss
DISS 17, CIVIL SERVICE 18: This was a game of ifs, buts and maybes – from the moment Diss arrived at the ground until the final whistle when, despite a complete domination by the pack, they were beaten by a late penalty kick.
It became clear that nothing was going to be straightforward when the club was informed that the Civil Service coach had broken down and they were hiring a fleet of taxis to get their squad to Mackenders.
With the kick-off being put back and back, their front row appeared with minutes to spare, before the referee postponed the match at 4pm, and the crowd were treated to the sight of players stripping off on the touchline as the game was about to kick- off.
It had been agreed that, provided the first half and at least 20 minutes of the second half had been played, then if bad light caused the fixture to be called off, the score would stand as the final result.
Unfortunately for Diss the light improved with 20 minutes gone of the second half, as they were leading at that point and would have won the match had it ended then.
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Diss started on the front foot, with a break by Chris Beaird setting up a chance for Aarron Bliss, but he was bundled into touch with five metres to go.
From the first scrum it was obvious that Diss had an advantage and Tim Groom was going to give his opposite prop a torrid afternoon. In fact the whole of the pack were in control throughout the game, regularly disrupting their opponents' scrum, line-out and loose play.
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Civil Service however were the first to put points on the board when they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Bliss then made a try- saving tackle to prevent the visitors extending their lead.
The pressure switched to the Civil Service line and when Diss were awarded a penalty, they opted for the scrum, and Andy Horne broke from No 8 to score the try, which Chris Beaird converted.
While Diss had the advantage in the pack, the Civil Service back line was always a threat, and the match swung from end to end, with Diss benefiting at the end of the first half from a disrupted visitors' scrum and poor handling, for Beaird to touch the ball down at the base of the post for another try, which he converted.
Diss started the second half again pressing the visitors, but were never able to make the telling break or pass, and a break by the visitors' No 13 put their winger in under the posts for an easy seven points.
Back came the Diss pack and their hard work resulted in a penalty kick for Beaird, which corkscrewed its way between the posts. If the rain and dark clouds had caused a finish of the game now, Diss would have won, but however much they tried they could not manage the final score that would have finished the game. As it was the visitors were awarded a penalty which their No 10 put between the posts for the final and winning score.
This was an opportunity missed for Diss, with their forward domination not resulting in the score that it deserved, and already the league is beginning to fragment. They will need something positive from next week's game at bottom club Basingstoke to kick-start the season.
Craig Burroughs made a steady debut for Diss when he replaced Will Hemmant in the second half, and it was encouraging to see Zac Seward come through a full game for the Saracens in their friendly game against Bury.