Hipwell puts seal on hard-fought win

Diss overcame atrocious conditions, and the tough challenge of league rivals Westcliff, to book their place in the fifth round of the EDFEnergy Senior Vase.

Diss 15, Westcliff 3

Diss overcame atrocious conditions, and the tough challenge of league rivals Westcliff, to book their place in the fifth round of the EDFEnergy Senior Vase.

The hosts kicked off with the wind and driving rain against them. After three minutes the referee awarded Westcliff a kickable penalty for offside which was surprisingly missed. The home side were being forced to defend in numbers as Westcliff launched a series of attacks and it was some time before they saw much in the way of possession.

However the first signs of a change came after 15 minutes when the Diss forwards managed to steal their opponents' ball at a line-out. Westcliff were then awarded a second kickable penalty, which their fly-half converted to give them a 3-0 lead.

This provoked an immediate response from Diss and they were unlucky not to score when a quickly taken tapped penalty by scrum-half Pete Chartier caught the opposition by surprise.

During the second quarter, Diss created more possession and gained more territory which enabled them to mount several attacks of their own. The referee awarded them a penalty after a Westcliff player obstructed deep in his own half. Full-back Chris Beaird stepped up to convert in very difficult kicking conditions.

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Diss took the lead after a much needed break. A powerful attack down the left side of the pitch was led by second row Ali Butler, who surged through the opposition to score the first try of the game. This was not converted, but Diss were now beginning to dominate in the loose and as a result were able to put Westcliff under a lot more pressure than in the first half.

The Diss team seemed to relish their task as the game progressed and further reward was to come in the 60th minute. The opposition full-back kicked defensively, only for flanker Steve Hipwell to intercept the ball. He then ran powerfully through the Westcliff defence to score under the posts and Beaird was able to convert to give Diss a 12 point lead.

Westcliff were not going to give up easily, and Diss were forced into defending as the opposition made several attacks. However, some decisive tackling and tactical kicking saw that the line was not breached.

The remaining exchanges were dominated by Diss, who seemed to adapt better to the conditions, but there was to be no further score.