Away defeat sees Diss slip up in play-off bid

RUGBY FESTIVAL: Diss Rugby Club Under-12s Black team were undefeated in the Mini Rugby Festival which was held at their Mackenders ground on Sunday

RUGBY FESTIVAL: Diss Rugby Club Under-12s Black team were undefeated in the Mini Rugby Festival which was held at their Mackenders ground on Sunday

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LONDON LEAGUE

DIVISION TWO

NORTH EAST

Romford and Gidea Park 25

Diss 22

Diss failed to maintain their momentum in the quest of securing the final play-off place after losing away to Romford and Gidea Park on Saturday.

It was a lacklustre performance that for all intents and purposes had an end of season feel about it.

Romford showed a great desire for the contest due to the fact they needed a win to lift themselves out of the relegation battle at the foot of the London League Division Two North East table.

Diss opened proceedings very much on the front foot, attacking with a confident desire and stringing together a series of well-constructed phases which stretched the home side from the outset.

Unfortunately, Roger Coombs’ men failed to profit from this early pressure as they conceded a breakaway try scored by George Robertson on 15 minutes.

Romford now grew in confidence and on 20 minutes, following ill-discipline from Diss in a ruck, Mitchell Smith stepped up to increase the home side’s lead to 8-0.

A further Romford penalty on 36 minutes placed Diss in further arrears, although a kick by Philip LeLeivre saw him score wide on the right to bring the visitors back into the game.

As the first-half drew to its conclusion, Tim Groom was rather harshly sin binned, allowing Romford the opportunity to set up an attacking five metre line out, which drove Diss over their own line to give the hosts a 16-5 lead.

With the elements and slight slope in their favour for the second-half, Diss responded in positive fashion and on 50 minutes Sean McClure slotted home a penalty to give them a foothold back into the contest.

Two minutes later Romford attempted to clear from their own 22, only to see the ageless Norman Potter charge the kick down and then sprint to the try line.

McClure converted the try to bring the visitors within one point, before Matt Richards became the second Diss player to be sin binned for a repeat offence at a ruck. It allowed Romford to further extend their lead to 19-15 with the final quarter approaching.

On 72 minutes Diss pressed again close to the Romford line and set up the returning Richards to score from close quarters to place Coombs’ side into the lead for the first time.

However, ill-discipline and a lack of precision while offloading gave Romford a further penalty to bring the scores level at 22-22 with only a minute remaining.

Diss were put under intense pressure and eventually conceded a final penalty within their own 22, which Smith converted to give the relegation-threatened side a timely boost and leave Coombs’ men now five points adrift of second place Sudbury.