Rivals all ready for derby

Bury St Edmunds 25, Diss 25: Saturday's London 1 North derby proved a thriller with the crowd treated to an exciting game that ebbed and flowed – with Diss denied victory by a 35-yard penalty in the dying seconds.

Coupled with North Walsham's crucial 27-14 away win at Braintree the scene is set for another thrilling derby at Scottow on Saturday.

Bury broke the deadlock after 10 minutes, after pushing the Diss pack, back on to their own try line, the home No 8 burrowing under the defence to score.

Diss responded immediately, a mistake by the Bury scrum-half giving them a penalty, which was converted by Warren Wilby.

Bury's game plan clearly revolved around trying to bludgeon their way through the Diss pack, but Diss resolutely defended every inch.

Home indiscipline allowed Diss their first try. Tom Holt's beautifully judged kick down the line resulted in a lineout, from which Peter Bray scored a push-over try.

Diss coach Phil Sharpe had made a number of enforced changes to his team, and those who came in all stood up to the mark in an exciting second half. Again Bury began the scoring when Matt Gardener's grubber kick ran straight to the opposition, who ran in their second try, which was converted.

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The belief in the Diss squad was reflected in their response. Wilby took the ball from the base of the scrum after a rolling maul and burst through to score.

Bury hit back with a kick over the Diss defence which caught them by surprise, bouncing into the hands of the home centre. But Diss struck back immediately. Tom Holt was able to pick the ball low and, with a side step of the finest quality, was able to score under the posts, Wilby converting.

The sparkle and imagination that Diss were now beginning to show, was reflected in the try of the season so far, Tod Wishart starting and finishing a move from the Diss dead ball area, ran the ball out, supported by Abbercrombie who took the ball further, glided the ball out to Andrew Horne, and with a flick of the wrist passed it to Giles West. From the resulting maul, the ball flew effortlessly through the half backs to Tom Holt, who broke through the Bury defence and passed it outside to Pete Bray who passed inside for Wishart to complete a memorable 80-yard move.

This would have been a fitting finish, but a strange decision allowed Bury back into the game with a try the hosts snatched a draw with that last-gasp long range penalty.

• Braintree 14, North Walsham 27

North Walsham lifted themselves out of the bottom two places with a crucial win over their fellow strugglers.

The first half reflected the perilous position of the two sides with both struggling to put passages of play together that might have warmed the crowd on was a bitterly cold day.

Walsham were boosted by the availability of Adam Couzens and David Treglown and the latter's was telling with an excellent display of place kicking. Keith Fowles made his debut in the front row and once fully match fit will add much needed cover and competition along with the return last week of Ben Campbell.

Walsham crossed the line midway through the first half, only for the grounding to be adjudged a double movement and disallowed.

Treglown kicked an excellent penalty from the touchline but Braintree, having not been punished when they knocked on a Walsham pass in their 22, made the most of their good fortune by hacking into the Walsham 22, for a simple pick up and score by their lively centre. The conversion ended the half 7-3 in Braintree's favour.

Shortly after the restart Campbell and Leon Davies joined the fray and the upper hand was secured in the tight, seeing Braintree driven back. It was not long before a penalty was conceded and Treglown closed the score to 7-6. Andy Tibbatts was then able to break from the base and a searing run up the blindside was moved on to Treglown, who touched down on the corner flag and duly converted his effort to put Walsham back in the lead at 13-7.

Both backs and forwards were now starting to show what they were capable of and starting to link well, but the tendency to throw away well- earned field positions was still there.

Chris Kent took a good ball off the shoulder of Ethan Reed and made many yards before being pulled down by the Braintree full-back with the ball spilling forward.

From the resulting scrum a well rehearsed drive put the opposition in disarray as they tried to clear it and the lively Blyth nipped in to steal it and accelerate away to the try line – just reward for his day's efforts having taken some heavy knocks throughout the game.

Converted again, the score moved on to 20-7 with an expectation that Walsham would kick on and add more points to the scoreline.

Braintree came back with an excellent move stopped only by a cracking tackle from Adam Dye almost on the line. The great defensive action was at the expense of McCall having to leave with a shoulder injury.

But Braintree took advantage of a rare lapse to to sent their fly-half through for a converted try to make it 20-14 and a tense final 10 minutes.

Walsham though, were not going to be denied. Blyth made another dart up the bind side to feed Chad Seeley who turned on the gas to beat two men and dot it down just inside the corner – just reward for a promising youngster who has endured some difficult times since coming into the side but has always given his all. The final whistle went as Treglown put a further kick over to make it 27-14.