LONDON TWO NORTH EAST Diss 38 Rochford Hundred 10
Roger Coombs believes Diss are capable of winning all of their remaining games this season on their way to gaining promotion.
The bold and confident prediction from the head coach came after watching his side brush aside fourth-placed promotion rivals Rochford Hundred on their way to a third straight victory.
And with his team perfectly poised in the title battle, currently third, two points adrift of leaders Chelmsford, Coombs has backed the Mackenders-based outfit to remain unstoppable starting with a trip to struggling Old Cooperians tomoorow (2pm).
“These players are capable of winning every game from now on and the pleasing thing for me is that they are only getting better,” he said. “The top five are very close but if we win every game from now until the end of the season then we will be promoted.
“At the beginning of the season I would have been delighted to finish in the top four but now being so close I’d be disappointed not to get there.
“That just shows the improvement of my team, they’ve been immense.
“This team are capable of being better than we are now and that is encouraging for me.
“On paper the next match is a simple one but you never know. We need to be at our best and hopefully continue to push on.”
After an even opening 20 minutes, the home side finally found a breakthrough as following a scrum near the posts, John Laurie off-loaded to Jamie Burroughs to crash through. Jack Peacock added the simple conversion to give Diss a 7-0 lead.
However, the hosts were ahead for long as Rochford rallied to score an unconverted try just seven minutes later. A missed tackle allowed Scott Horsburgh to break through before offloading for Brett Smith to score.
Despite seeing Chris Craven sin-binned shortly after, Diss were not fazed by their numerical disadvantage and extended their lead five minutes later.
A prolonged period of pressure resulted in Peacock offloading the ball brilliantly for Matthew Trede to race clear of the pack and score under the posts. Peacock again added the simple conversion to give Diss a 14-5 lead.
The visitors had their numerical advantage wiped out in the 35th minute after Hosburgh was sin-binned.
The resulting penalty was narrowly missed by Peacock but with Craven back on the pitch Diss quickly took advanatge of the weakened visitors and scored another try moments before the break.
The impressive Trede broke on his own and raced down the left-hand side before finding the onrushing Wilby to carry the ball over the line. Peacock narrowly failed to add the difficult conversion as the scoreline stood at 19-5 at half-time.
The home side refused to rest on their laurels and kicked off the second half as they finished the first by extending their lead further with another try in the 45th minute.
A prolonged period of sustained pressure immediately after the interval saw Wilby break through two challenges to break clear of a packed field and touch down between the posts. Peacock was again faced with a simple conversion to add the extra two points to leave the scoreline at 26-5.
That momentum continued with the home side who demonstrated their pedigree with a brilliant team try after 50 minutes.
A flowing move through the field saw Trede and Wilby trade passes before the latter picked out Thomas Holt, who raced into the abundance of space and crashed down between the posts.
Peacock’s boot again proved reliable as he added the extras from in front of the posts to extend the advantage.
Rochford continued to struggle to cope with the attacking prowess of Diss and their superiority was again evident just five minutes later as the hosts added another try.
Another blistering attack saw the influential Wilby again at the centre of the flowing move as he picked out Holt, once again in acres of space on the right-hand side, to bundle his way over.
Faced with a difficult angle and strong head wind, Peacock narrowly missed the conversion from the right touchline as Diss’ advantage stood at 38-5.
With a little over 15 minutes remaining Diss’ rhythm was disrupted as Jack Keppel was shown a yellow card and sin-binned for an infringement close to the try line.
The visitors immediately seized on the numerical advantage and following a prolonged period of pressure they reduced the deficit.
The ball was moved across the try line from left to right resulting in Adam Ashton picking out Matthew Stewart for a clear run over in the right corner. Ashton failed to add the conversion to leave the score at 38-10.
Diss played out the final minutes of the match to seal what could prove a vital win.