Streetwise Manor too strong for boys in blue
DIVISION ONE NORTH
Eton Manor 47
Diss slipped to their fourth defeat of the year on Saturday, going down by a 35-point margin at Eton Manor.
Playing in conditions that dictated an accurate approach to retaining the ball — as well as a game plan that placed the opposition on the back foot — proved to be tough for the visiting Blues.
Hosting Eton Manor were streetwise to the tactics needed, consistently kicking deep into the Diss half and then defending well, awaiting handling errors from the Norfolk side.
When in possession Eton Manor attacked at pace, coupled with an accuracy that Diss struggled to live with for most of the afternoon.
Playing conditions underfoot deteriorated throughout the afternoon, although this did not hamper the Eton Manor three-quarters who responded well to a well-judged cross kick to open the scoring on two minutes.
A powerful drive some 10 minutes later resulted in another Manor try that placed the visitors further on the back foot.
However, led by the ever-willing Jon Bergin and talisman Stephen Hipwell, Diss gradually clawed their way back into the encounter at Bancrofts Rugby Club.
Momentum had been restored to a certain degree, but inaccurate kicking allowed Manor to score a try following good handling off the ground from their captain Elliot Houghton.
Diss approached the half-time whistle with renewed vigour and, following intelligent approach work from Shaquille Meyers, Ed Hudson held onto a superb inside pass to open the Diss account and give the team a boost.
Early in the second half Eton Manor seized possession and pressurised a stretched Diss defence.
And with the Diss eight under pressure in the tight as well as struggling to retain line-out possession consistently, the third quarter proved a very one-sided affair.
Good defence from the likes of John Laurie, Fraser Hall, and Will Hudson did stem the flow, but in the end a tide of pressure gave the Eton Manor centres too much space from which to exploit and breach the tiring Diss defence.
Spearheaded by Aaron Forest and Hipwell, Diss drove deep into the Manor 22, setting up Laurie for a customary close-quarter try that lifted the visitors’ spirits at the end of what had been a tough encounter.
The Blues will be hoping for a change in fortune tomorrow when they turn their attention to the visit of Norwich, in the semi-final of the Norfolk Challenge Cup (2.30pm).
Prior to losing to Sudbury last weekend, London League Division Two North East outfit Norwich had won five matches in a row and currently sit fourth in the standings.