Brave Blues’ effort not enough to earn final berth

TRY TIME: John Laurie goes over the line for Diss in their only try of the game on Saturday

TRY TIME: John Laurie goes over the line for Diss in their only try of the game on Saturday

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Diss were unable to progress past undefeated Maidstone to claim a prize regional final spot in the RFU Intermediate Cup at Mackenders, going down 33-7.

Maidstone very quickly indicated their intention of attacking Diss at pace through their three quarters.

But the Blues held the upper-hand all afternoon in the scrummage and driving maul and certainly gave the Kent side as stern a test as they have had so far this season.

Maidstone opened the scoring through Lenny Vandevelde on 20 minutes, following sustained and intense pressure from forwards and backs alike.

Jonno Skelton stepped up to convert and Maidstone were very much on the front foot.

Diss responded positively but a lack of precision and poor handling allowed Maidstone a second try scoring opportunity that was clinically taken by Alex Eastwood and yet again converted by Skelton.

The Diss pack decided to take things into their own hands and were extremely unlucky not to be awarded a penalty try following total control close to the Maidstone five-metre line.

Following this pressure Maidstone attacked yet again and off-loaded the ball beautifully to set up a further try for Eddie Cranston, which secured a half-time lead of 21-0.

The majority of the second period was played in the Maidstone half, with Diss attacking at every opportunity through a dominant pack of forwards and a back division that had weathered the initial visitors’ storm and was growing in confidence and attacking prowess.

Sustained pressure at the scrum eventually led to a yellow card for a Maidstone player and from the resulting driving scrummage John Laurie scored with Jack Peacock converting to bring Diss back into the game.

A number of the more experienced Diss players stepped up to the mark and strove manfully to pull the game round.

Fraser Hall, Giles West ,Tim Groom and Warren Wilby drove the game forward but Maidstone showed real bite in defence and, following a loss of possession on half-way, the Maidstone number eight Ban Brill, who was outstanding all afternoon, scored a solo try to increase the lead to 28-7 with 10 minutes remaining.

Diss continued to persevere but due to a very high tackle count throughout the afternoon succumbed to a final unconverted Maidstone try with only a few minutes remaining.

It had been a very brave effort from the Norfolk side and one that Paul Hathaway, the Maidstone coach, commented on as being the toughest game they had faced so far this season.