Old Haberdashers 16 Diss 10
18:58 19 January 2014
Diss saw their chances of avoiding relegation suffer a setback when they were beaten by the one team below them in the table.
For the second year in a row Diss found themselves unable to play at Old Haberdashers’ Hertfordshire ground and had to travel to Chiswick RFC to play the game.
The meeting of the two bottom teams was always going to be a tense affair and overall the quality of rugby reflected two sides lacking confidence and a continuity. That said, the game turned in the first half due to two crucial decisions that disrupted the encouraging way that Diss were establishing a foothold in the game.
Diss started encouragingly and attacked deep into the Old Haberdashers half. The forwards were camped five metres from the line on at least two occasions and should have scored but due to a lack of patience and poor technique, they failed to come away with the points. This has certainly been a scenario witnessed throughout the season and one that has cost Diss in most tight matches.
Following a penalty close to the Diss line the Old Haberdashers scrum-half was able to force himself over. The try was not converted and play continued to be evenly contested. At this point Michael Fuller was sin-binned for what was described as a dangerous tackle.
Diss were immediately put under intense pressure and following a heated confrontation at a ruck Andrew Horne was dismissed for retaliation. The penalty was reversed and converted to give Old Haberdashers a half-time lead of 8-0.
Diss started the second half with 13 players and responded in a positive fashion, allowing John Laurie to score a trademark individual try to bring the game back to life.
Michael Fuller had now returned to the fold and was enjoying a super game at the breakdown. But having to play one down in the forwards was now beginning to tell and from being in the ascendancy Diss now found themselves on the back foot.
Following determined running the Old Haberdashers’ No 12 crashed over to increase the lead and in many ways kill the game. Diss were however not finished and the ever present Michael Fuller dived over wide on the left to give some hope. The final minutes found Diss attacking through both Fraser Hall and Laurie but on too many occasions possession was lost at a critical time.
Another must-win game had slipped through the net.