Diss 34 North Walsham 36; Vikings edge home in cracking local derby
- Credit: Archant
These two great rivals produced a game of untold drama that had a big Mackenders crowd on the edge of their seats right up until the final whistle.
North Walsham led 36-10 at the break but the second half was a complete contrast, with the visitors failing to score and three tries in the 15 minutes seeing Diss close the gap to just two points.
The Vikings began confidently, consistently crossing the gainline and recycling quickly and within 10 minutes it was 19-0.
Ryan Oakes pounced on an error to put Roydon Miller over for the first, Jim Riley raced onto James Knight's exquisite kick for the second and Will Hodgson burst through from 30 metres for the third, alertly touching down the loose ball when Diss failed to clear. Lee Thomson converted twice.
Diss scored with their first meaningful attack after Steve Hipwell drove a hole through the middle and three quick breakdowns prefaced a trademark Chris Beaird try. As the breathtaking first quarter ended it became 24-5, Josh Brown weaving over after a quick tap penalty.
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The hosts then enjoyed their best first half spell, retaining the ball through a series of drives close to the line before Shaquille Meyers dived over. It was a brief respite though with Hodgson getting his second, converted by Thomson, after Riley had broken down the left. On the stroke of half-time Oakes got the Vikings' sixth try following a perfectly angled run by Miller to collect a pass from James Knight.
The introduction of Tim Groom to the fold had a huge influence on proceedings after half-time. The Diss forwards began to find momentum before fly-half Aaron Forrest scored following a superb loop to bring the home side back into the game.
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A further thrust from John Bergin allowed Meyers to cleverly off-load to Forest who promptly scored his second. With only a deficit of 12 points and the game deep into the final quarter a superb individual try by Elliot Rayment from 30 metres set up a pulsating final five minutes. Diss yet again secured possession from the restart and intelligent handling sent Beaird crashing through numerous tackles to score yet another fine individual try. The conversion was missed however, thus leaving Diss two points short at the final whistle.