DIVISION 1 NORTH
Diss 31 Ruislip 32
Diss gifted the opposition two converted tries within the first 10 minutes of this crucial mid-table clash.
Having conceded three unnecessary penalties, Diss immediately found themselves once again on the back foot and having to play catch-up rugby much of the afternoon.
Ruislip played a very simple off-loading game that created opportunities at regular intervals.
Initially dominant at the breakdown, and playing through the phases at a pace that Diss struggled to cope with, allowed Ruislip to totally dominate the first quarter of the game.
On 25 minutes Diss entered the Ruislip half for the first time with purpose and authority.
A determined break from Isaiah Graham-Hooper led to the ball being transferred across the field at pace.
Jo Brock crashed through into the Ruislip 22, which allowed the ball to be moved to Freddie Precious, who scored a beautifully crafted try that involved the whole team.
Diss now stepped up the pace and began to play with continuity, determination and an authority not seen in the game thus far.
Playing very much on the front foot gave Stephen Hipwell the opportunity to score a second Diss try as half-time approached.
Unfortunately both conversions were missed. This was to prove pivotal as the game unfolded.
Yet again, Diss succumbed to early Ruislip pressure, conceding a try scored through the visitors’ forwards.
The game now opened up completely with Diss playing their best rugby of the match. Playing with a growing confidence, and at a pace not shown thus far, saw the home side score two further tries to take the lead.
A superb pass from Alex Leader sent Stephen Hipwell over for his second try and, following a Leader kick, Hipwell was able to feed Jacob Page who crashed over from 10 metres.
Throughout the season Diss have been totally unable to defend any lead, and as the game moved into the final quarter Ruislip scored another converted try to go back in front.
Diss responded with a well-struck penalty from Chris Beaird.
Following creative play from the Diss threequarters, and a typical bullish thrust from Stephen Hipwell, Jo Hegarty scythed his way through to establish a 32-26 lead that should have sealed a famous victory for the home side.
As the game drifted to its conclusion Ruislip intelligently maintained possession, forcing Diss to retreat to their own line.
A driving maul that should have been defended by the whole Diss pack gave the visitors the winning try and conversion.
Diss were not clinical enough, and yet again gave the opposition too much freedom. A victory for Ruislip proved to be a fair and just result.
Diss picked up two points from the game, and are 10th in the table on 22 points from 11 matches.
Diss visit Fullerians tomorrow (2pm). The hosts are three places and nine points above Diss, but have lost three of their six home games.
n Young players from the club honed their skills with the professionals at 10-time English champions Leicester Tigers.
They took part in a Tigers Matchday Coaching Clinic and then joined an 18,000-strong crowd for the Anglo-Welsh Cup fixture against Gloucester Rugby at Welford Road.
The Diss players also had an opportunity to quiz Tigers and Tonga forward Sione Kalamafoni about life in professional rugby, and then they soaked up the matchday atmosphere at Welford Road and watched the professionals in action as Leicester sealed a 26-24 win.
Stephen Evans, a coach at Diss, said: “This is our fourth year here with this group and it’s always a great day – it’s nice to round it off with a Tigers win too!
“The coaching was brilliant, the guys learned a huge amount, and the hospitality was great too.”