Diss ring the changes but still end up cruising to win

FRONT FOOT: Sean McClure looks to set Diss off on the attack
FRONT FOOT: Sean McClure looks to set Diss off on the attack

HARRISON CUP FINAL

Diss 68

Holt 15

After securing the London League Two North East title and promotion, Diss turned their attention to winning the traditional Harrison Cup on Saturday.

The high-scoring victory not only saw the curtain come down on the season at Mackenders, it also stretched Diss’ unbeaten record in front of their own supporters to three years.

Opponents Holt endured a tough league campaign, finishing second-from-bottom while Diss romped to the championship.

Indeed, the north Norfolk side picked up just three victories during the entire season.

Diss head coach Dave Smith, meanwhile, opted to shuffle his pack for this encounter, with a number of colts players coming in to gain a taste of senior rugby.

And Holt took advantage of those changes by taking an early lead from a Diss infringement at the breakdown.

Exchanges for a period thereafter were very even, with the score after the first quarter being 12-10 to Diss.

However, complete control was soon established by the home side with the forward exchanges being dominated by Stephen Hipwell, Jo Brock, Matt Richards and captain Fraser Hall.

A tight scrummage also exerted extreme pressure on the Holt eight, thus placing the visitors consistently on the back foot.

Sean McClure, Alex Leeder and Chris Beaird were providing a regular attacking threat for the hosting Blues, and while Holt remained in contention until the half-time break, the floodgates opened after the restart.

Speaking after the final whistle, head coach Smith commented: “Today was a fitting conclusion to one of the most successful seasons in the club’s history.”

Diss, whose title-winning exploits saw them finish just four points short of 100, will conclude their campaign in three weeks when they take on fierce rivals North Walsham in the The R & L Engineering Norfolk Cup final.

The match will be staged during the Norfolk Big Rugby Weekend at Holt RFC, on Saturday, May 6.

A host of other finals will take place over the course of the weekend, including the Welding Repairs Norfolk Bowl, the Optima Stainless Steel Norfolk Salver and the Constitution motors Norfolk Cup on the Saturday.

That is followed on Sunday by a number of youth finals at Under-14, Under-15 and Under-16 level — that latter of which will feature Diss against Holt.