London 1N: Diss 26, Rochford Hundred 10
Diss got back to winning ways with an untidy victory over a side struggling near the foot of London 1N.
This was not a pretty match or a one for the purists, accentuated by both teams making basic errors in handling and in the loose play.
In the end all that mattered was that Diss won to remain fourth in the table, eight points off second spot.
The first 15 minutes was exceptional only for the number of errors committed by both sides, and a try scored by Rochford after four minutes, which was converted.
Diss clearly had a point to prove, and with some incisive running from Deaglan Hall and James Gowing in support, they began to brighten the proceedings and after 40 minutes of unexciting play scored their first try. Chris Beaird, taking the ball from Gowing on the halfway line, showed a deceptive turn of pace, to sprint past two defenders, scoring in the corner.
However within minutes Rochford improved their lead with a well taken penalty, to bring the first half to an underwhelming end.
Phil Sharpe did not look a happy man on the way to the changing room and clearly his half-time pep talk had some effect on the players. Diss began the half marginally more energised and attacked the Rochford pack with a little more aggression. But, as in the first half, Diss and Rochford's running game was brought to an end by the number of times the referee stopped play.
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The second try of the match showed why Diss merited this victory. Showing persistence and tenacity, Fraser Hall broke through a number of tackles and kicked the ball forward for Aaron Bliss to chase. He was able to pass it inside for Will Farrar to lunge over the try line. This was a defining moment in the game as it galvanised both sides, mistakes started to disappear and both sides started to open up.
Diss however proved to be the better team on the counter-attack and with Rochford often kicking away their possession, Diss were able to open up the Rochford defence. Beaird, supported by Abercrombie and Deacon, a second row combination that is going from strength to strength, made the ball available for Rickie Holt to spin the ball out to Zac Seward. Fraser Hall, taking a superb line from centre, broke through the defence to score under the posts, Beaird converting. With confidence returning, Diss now never looked like losing and when Andrew Horne grabbed the ball from the base of a scrum a surprising turn of speed caught the Rochford defence by surprise. Holt, in support, took the ball further for Bliss to spin the ball out for the ever improving Giles West to score in the corner, Beaird converting.
Diss face a big test on Saturday when they entertain leaders Thurrock.