Saffron Walden 26
Diss Rugby Club saw their title aspirations take a knock as they suffered a bonus point defeat, in a top of the table clash, to promotion rivals Saffron Walden.
Diss headed into the encounter a single point ahead of their hosts and it was the visitors who were gifted with the first opportunity after three minutes but Sean McClure’s penalty attempt back cannoning back off the upright.
The home responded with a prolonged period of sustained pressure near Diss’ try line and they were finally rewarded for their endeavours as James Gosden managed to force the ball down in the right-hand corner.
Tom Price’s attempted conversion fell short of the posts to leave Walden with a 5-0 advantage.
The visitors responded well to the setback and found themselves encamped on the home side’s try line.
However, despite a prolonged period of pressure, they could not find a breakthrough as the home side held their slender advantage going into the interval.
The second-half started much like the first with very little between the sides but it was the hosts this time who missed an early penalty attempt as Price’s kick fell short of the posts.
However, the Saffron Walden fans were celebrating again after 62 minutes as their side extended their advantage with another try as a flowing move from the left involving Ben Nash, Matt Holden and Nick Baker saw the latter crash over in the left corner.
Price then added a super conversion from the acute angle to put his side 12-0 ahead.
With momentum behind them and Diss visibly tiring, the home side scored their third try of the afternoon as a quick lineout and handling error from McClure was capitalised on by Adam Miles who raced clear to score between the posts. Price successfully added the simple conversion to extend the advantage to 19-0 with just four minutes remaining.
However Saffron Walden refused to rest on their laurels with the added incentive of a bonus point on offer.
And with just two minutes remaining they added the try they so desperately wanted as Paul Marshall crashed over to seal the bonus point.
It was left to Price to kick the simple conversion, wrapping up the victory that took his side back to the top of the table ahead of Diss.