Pride intact - but Diss are well beaten
Diss 10, Jersey 66: The scoreline suggests another thrashing for Diss at the hands of the league leaders Jersey. But it hides the fact that the main difference between the two sides was the quick handling and passing in the back line.
Diss 10, Jersey 66
The scoreline suggests another thrashing for Diss at the hands of the league leaders Jersey.
But it hides the fact that the main difference between the two sides was the quick handling and passing in the back line. In the pack Diss fronted up and showed real determination not to let the Channel Islanders have an easy ride.
With the selection of many Saracens players due to the ever mounting injury problems, it was a much changed Diss team that were welcomed on to the field by the cheering Under-10s from Diss and Bury St Edmunds, who had played a warm- up match before to entertain the crowd.
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It took just one minute for the Jersey backs to show their skills, and within 11 minutes they had 21 points on the board.
But the Diss pack were taking the game to Jersey and soon forced a penalty, scored by Andy Thorpe.
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Again pressure from Diss on the Jersey line led to the maul being pulled down, and the visitors' captain was sent to the sidelines for 10 minutes, allowing the pack to pushover the line, with Pete Bray emerging to score from the bottom of the heap. Thorpe was successful with the conversion.
The Jersey backs then showed their dominance again, running two converted tries, but the try-saving tackle put in by Giles West, who sprinted across from his wing to the other, will long stay in the memory.
The first 20 minutes of the second half were highlighted by the bravery and strength of the Diss pack, the tackling of their backs and the sudden sloppiness of their Jersey opposite numbers, who twice had overlaps but chose the wrong options.
John Llewellyn was replaced by Chris Howard due to injury, but worryingly, Chris was soon helped from the field and taken to hospital, being replaced by Pete Chartier. He was released later after undergoing tests. This led to a reshuffling of the line- up. with Deaglan Hall replacing Keith Rix, who like the entire pack had given his all.
The toll of all the work that had been put in, plus the superior Jersey backs, led to 31 unanswered points in the second half but Diss kept battling and with the runs of Tim Groom, and Andrew Horne much in evidence, they can at least take pride in their performance.
Jersey are a good rugby side to watch, and are almost certain to be promoted, but with none of the teams below Diss getting a win or bonus points, the league stays as it is, with Diss seven points clear of the relegation places. If some of the injured players return for the match at Basingstoke next week, there may be a selection problem for coach Gavin Brock, as on Saturday's performance, nobody's work rate or commitment could be faulted.