Impressive Diss go marching on at top
- Credit: Archant
Diss retained their five-point lead at the top of London Two North East with a hard-fought win at Old Cooperians.
Playing up a gentle slope and into a breeze Diss were put under pressure in the first half as the hosts' big forwards and fleet-footed backs pinned them in their own half for long spells, but the roles were reversed after the break.
From an early scrum Old Cooperians put the ball through the hands of their backs to score an easy unconverted try from 40 metres out and they then added a penalty to make it 8-0.
Diss then managed to keep it tight, with the whole pack putting in a big shift, before a pick and drive from Steve Hipwell saw him charging over the line for the team's first try on their first visit to the opposition 22. Sean McClure converted to reduce the deficit to 8-7.
The Blues' defence held firm until a further penalty was converted, but they hit back again when a penalty failed to find touch and was flicked into the hands of the chasing Matt Trede to stroll over, McClure converting to make it 11-12 at the break.
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Diss started the second half strongly and had soon stretched their lead with a McClure penalty.
The re-start saw Alex Leeder caught in possession, but with the ball secured Ali Abercrombie set off on a 30-metre sprint and after the ball had passed through several pairs of hands Hipwell bundled over the line for a well-deserved team try. McClure converted and then added another penalty after good work from Ed Hudson to make it 11-25.
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A series of penalties saw Old Cooperians break out of their half and threaten the line on several occasions. The Diss defence dug deep until, after one too many infringements, Leeder was shown a yellow with 15 minutes to go.
The resulting scrum was won by Old Cooperians and their 10 fed their 13 on an inside line to score under the posts.
Diss, however, were to have the last say and after more sustained pressure from Old Cooperians, Chris Beaird came off his defensive line to get the interception he was looking for and set off at pace towards the home line. Good support work kept the move alive and Will Scott got the touchdown, with McClure's conversion completing the scoring.
Old Cooperians 18 Diss 32