Diss fall to single point derby defeat
Diss will rue some errors and may look on the derby encounter as a win that was lost as they fell to a 20-19 single point defeat at home to divisional rivals Sudbury.
It saw the London 1 North league’s basement side record their ninth successive league defeat, with the club having won just one game while losing all 23 other league fixtures this term, including the 52-3 away thrashing in the reverse fixture on December 1.
The scoreline reflects the competitive – and, at times, tense – nature of the game, with Diss defying their form to dominate the second half and almost claim victory.
Diss’ destiny has already been determined for next season, with relegation all but formally confirmed as they lie firmly at the base of the table with 33 points separating them from safety; and just two fixtures remaining.
Sudbury, however, had it all to play for as they are currently winning the battle for league survival, now six points clear of the danger zone.
And it was the visitors who got off to the better start, capitalising on a poorly executed lineout to steal the ball before passing it out wide, with one fast pass breaking the line before they went over the try line for the first points – a missed conversion left it at 5-0 to Sudbury.
Sudbury continued playing a fast running game which saw Diss having to put in some telling tackles.
Awarded a penalty, Chris Beaird kicked for touch in the corner for the lineout; well executed this time, the Diss pack drove forward and, with only a few metres to go, Pete Bray ran around on the right side and touched down to bring Diss level, the conversion hit the upright bouncing off to the wrong side.
Sudbury fired back, with a similar score to Diss’ as a player ran around the pack to dot down for a 10-5 lead.
The game was fierce at the breakdown and some collar holding and nose to nose discussion on a couple of occasions meant the referee had a polite word with both captains.
Although Diss had a penalty on the 22m, they went for the lineout before being penalised in the ruck to hand over possession. Sudbury then received a penalty for a high tackle, which they did kick, for a 13-5 lead into the interval.
The restart began and Diss were awarded a scrum, penalty and scrum in quick succession with no result.
Sudbury then scored a third try of the match as they exploited space out wide again and converted for a 20-5 lead.
The remainder of the game belonged to the home team and, after gaining another penalty, George Jones looked to be kicking for the line but a tap-and-go instead saw Diss run forward with Jones finding a gap to score a well worked try, converted for a 20-12 scoreboard.
This spell of play brought the home fans to life as they cheered on every Diss move as they enjoyed a dominant spell.
An unintentional spear tackle meant Sudbury lost a man to the sin bin which led to Diss taking advantage of the man over for Tiger Shaw to score a converted try to make it a nail-biting 20-19.
They fought hard to follow up on their great work, with a second win of the season within touching distance but two missed penalty kicks in the dying stages of the game saw their chance of victory slip away.
Sudbury then fought back and gained a lineout five metres from the Diss line which was defended, but Sudbury were looking dangerous again.
Diss held out for the last few minutes and the whistle signalled the end of a contest of which the home team should be proud, it certainly surprised Sudbury who did not expect such a demanding game.