Gap closes as Diss are beaten on the road
DIVISION ONE NORTH
Saffron Walden 21
The Friday night lights failed to brighten Diss’ mood as they lost on the road at Saffron Walden.
It is the fifth straight defeat the Blues have suffered that also saw their third-from-bottom hosts close the gap to them to just 13 points in the fight for survival.
The game started with both sides trying to adapt to difficult underfoot conditions and the greasy nature of the ball.
The Diss defensive line held firm early on with Will Hudson and Matt Richards both making telling contributions.
Having survived the siege, Alex Leeder then sent an accurate and decisive pass to Shaun Blyth, who sped from well within his own half to score an individual try. Aaron Forest converted to give the visitors the ascendancy.
However, a series of needless penalties allowed Saffron Walden back into the game and following direct pressure from an attacking lineout, they levelled the scores in the 26th minute.
Diss responded immediately through the driving play of their eight — Stephen Hipwell — and he eventually forced himself over the line to yet again take the initiative, with Forest stepping up to convert.
In many ways this should have been the springboard for a dominant performance from the south Norfolk side, but a speculative up-and-under from the Walden fly-half was not collected accurately, thus allowing Walden to break through to level the scores as half-time beckoned.
In contrast to the opening 40 minutes, the second half proved to be a period of little or no attacking options from a Diss side that completely fell away from the game.
The visitors began to attack far too laterally, making themselves easy targets for the Walden drift defence.
As the half developed it became quite apparent that only one scoring chance was going to secure victory late in the day.
Walden achieved this when a missed tackle allowed their fly-half to waltz through a huge gap to secure a well-deserved and hard-fought victory.
Diss’ ill-discipline and a lack of thrust and desire in the second half had cost the visitors the spoils, having established a positive foothold in the game early in the first half.
The only solace from the night was a losing bonus point which may prove vital as the season draws to its conclusion.
Diss (11th) travel to 10th-placed Ruislip tomorrow (3pm).
• Diss Under-14s braved the snowy conditions to play out an entertaining encounter with West Mersea at the weekend.
The young Blues battled hard but ended up losing 26-24.