Champs end season with entertaining win
LONDON LEAGUE TWO
Rochford Hundred 36
Champions Diss ended their league campaign in style with a victory in a high-scoring home encounter that kept their three-year unbeaten home record intact.
With promotion assured, Diss started in positive fashion and dotted down within the opening three minutes.
A mazy run from Chris Beaird, set-up by Sean McClure, was fed to Phil Le Lievre and on to John Laurie, who went over for the try.
However, Rochford responded immediately with a flowing move that caught Diss defending too narrow and the visitors pounced to notch a converted try.
A second try was to follow swiftly after as again Diss were too narrow, allowing a grubber kick through their defensive line.
The next honours went the way of Diss after a scrum on the Rochford five-metre line allowed Stephen Hipwell to pick and go, before passing to Giles West to touch down and Sean McClure added the extras.
Shortly after that, a series of midfield penalties ended with McClure finding touch.
The line-out, which functioned well all afternoon, was won and Matt Richards burrowed his way through the Rochford defence to get on the score sheet, with McClure making the conversion.
The end-to-end action continued with Le Lievre scoring a well-worked try after a break from McClure set him up.
This was immediately followed by a try from Rochford as they continued to keep themselves within the contest.
Diss were to have the last say in the first half, though, when McClure offloaded to Beaird who, with a lot of work to do, barrelled his way through two defenders to score under the posts. Once again, McClure made no mistake with the kick to send his team into the break 33-17 in front.
Rochford came out for the second half determined and at no time took a backward step as they seized on every attacking opportunity.
But Diss were in a belligerent mood with their pack starting to dominate proceedings and soon after the second half started, they created the try of the match.
It began from a ruck midfield when Hipwell broke two tackles to feed McClure, who jinxed through two more defenders, offloaded to Wilby and he found Le Lievre to go over his second try, with McClure converting.
To Rochford’s credit, they did not let their heads drop and battled back with two tries, one of which was converted to reduce the arrears to 40-29.
Up the other end, Warren Wilby was next on the scoresheet for Diss as Le Lievre cut through the visiting defence with good footwork to give him the finishing pass.
Again McClure converted, only for Rochford to reply promptly with another try.
Fittingly, the last say of the proceedings went the way of the division’s champions, with Todd Wishart and Hipwell both registering tries as the curtain came down on yet another league season at their Mackenders ground.
The result means that Diss recorded a three-figure points tally from their 22 matches, eventually finishing on 101.
That was enough to leave them 15 points clear of second-placed South Woodham Ferrers, while Cantabrigian, in third, were a hefty 32 points adrift.
In total, Dave Smith’s men won 20 of their encounters, losing just once and drawing the other.
They racked up just four points short of 1,000, while conceding just 339 to leave them with a points difference of +657.
In terms of the try bonus points, The Blues picked up 19, which is four more than any of their divisional rivals.
n On Sunday, Diss Vixens Under-18s (pictured bottom right) recorded an impressive 84-35 win over their Sudbury counterparts in an encounter played at Thetford Rugby Club.
The match ended up being reduced to seven-a-side due to injuries, but it did not deter the Diss youngsters, who ran in tries at regular intervals.
Vixens: Jess McLean-Wright (C), Charley Rooney, Jade Fisher, Georgia Seymour, Jasmin Fisher, Alana Maclaren, Bethany Brennan, and Charlotte Vincent.