Off-colour Blues well beaten on home soil
DIVISION ONE NORTH
Having secured their league status for another season, Diss produced a tepid performance that saw them comfortably defeated by their visitors on Saturday.
The hosting Blues kicked off in good conditions and after a series of handling errors and scrums from both teams in the midfield, Diss gave away three penalties in as many minutes, resulting in a scrum on their five-metre line.
However, pressure was relieved temporarily by a good clearing kick from Kieran Pask and a fast follow up and cover tackle from Sahun Blythe.
Nevertheless, after a series of missed tackles from the home team, Fullerians countered from midfield through a flowing backs move to allow Sam Shannon-Tinsley to score out wide and convert, opening up a seven-point advantage with 20 minutes on the clock.
By this point in proceedings it was becoming clear the big Fullerians pack was dominating the scrums and breakdowns, shoving the home side off their own ball at the scrum and clearing out rucks efficiently.
This, in turn, allowed them to put their big ball carriers down the close channels, keeping them on the front foot.
Once their backs received good fast ball they found the Diss defence lacking line feed and falling off tackles giving them time and space to operate in.
The Fullerians’ number 15, proving himself to be man of the match, cut a good line in the midfield to feed Kieran Cavanagh for a well-worked try in the corner.
The Fullerians 15 continued to be influential all afternoon, cutting holes in the Diss defence and offloading with great efficiency.
Come the half-time whistle the score was 12-0 in favour of the away side, with the hosts just about hanging on to their coattails.
Five minutes into the second half, Dan Evans added a third try for Fullerians as they regained control of the contest.
However, following a period of good possession, the home team were awarded a penalty on the Fullerians’ 22-metre line.
A kick to the corner resulted in a lineout, which functioned well all afternoon, and was won by Diss on the Fullerians’ five-metre line.
The resulting maul was very effective as talisman Stephen Hipwell broke from the back to score and Aaron Forest converted with the boot to make the score 17-7.
Up the other end, Fullerians’ willingness to counter-attack from anywhere in the field resulted in their next try by Liam Mann, who rode through three Diss missed tackles to score.
Evans subsequently successfully added the extras to extinguish any hope Diss had of mounting a comeback.
Jackson Espin then got into the action by scoring his first try in Fullerians’ colours from a ruck 10 metres out under the posts, extending the lead to 29-7.
At this point in the game, even with Hipwell, Will Hudson, Fraser Hall, Pask and Shaquille Meyers trying to punch holes in the away team’s defence, it held solid and no good ground was made.
With 10 minutes remaining, Fullerians lost centre Myles Toon to a red card for a dangerous tackle on Diss’ Chris Beaird.
Against 14 players, and with the home side pressuring their opposition’s line several times, the Fullerians defence held out during the minutes that remained to secure a routine victory.
Tomorrow, 10th-placed Diss will play their penultimate match of the 2017/18 season when they travel to Amersham & Chiltern, who sit in fourth position at present (3pm).
When the sides met at Mackenders earlier in the season they played out an entertaining 22-22 draw.