Diss emerge victors from tough battle as Stowmarket win big
A round-up of this weekend’s local rugby.
London 1 NE Brentwood 7 Diss 24
THE visitors, playing down hill on a pitch with a pronounced slope, made a flying start and Fraser Hall scored a try after being driven over the line by his team-mates. Warren Wilby converted.
After the opening score, the two packs joined up in a ferocious battle which saw the hosts lose their hooker to injury after 10 minutes.
Diss’s forwards managed to gain the upper hand but could not hold off the home pack entirely.
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Having committed much of their defence to the forward battle, chances did occur wider out for the Diss backs and Aaron Bliss used his blistering pace to score under the posts for Wilby to convert.
Brentwood did have chances for territory gains from penalties, but chose to kick for the posts, one a near miss and one rebounding off the woodwork.
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Diss’s backs looked rapid all afternoon and a break from Bliss saw him off-load to Hall for his second try of the half.
On their third chance to kick for the corner, Brentwood changed tactics and took the line-out five metres from the visitors’ line and drove over for a converted try in the corner to end the first half.
The second half was a tale of the home side using their pitch to advantage, powering towards the low corner, but they ran into an unbreakable Diss rearguard.
Brentwood lost a second front-row player to injury and the scrums went uncontested. This did negate much of the Diss pack’s hard-won supremacy.
Though the home side pressed hard for a score, the clock continued to run down and despite their efforts Diss had the last word, as Bliss broke a couple of tackles and went over the line for a bonus point fourth try, which was unconverted.
Braintree 8 Bury 49
BUOYED by an encouraging home win last week, Bury travelled to Braintree optimistic of claiming another win over the league’s basement side.
Bury’s much-vaunted back line saw some changes as the coaching team looked to use the game to try out differing combinations. Eggars was rested with Lee coming in at centre, whilst Nick Flexman and Barry Frost exchanged wing and full-back positions.
The home side won an early penalty which was converted after Bury were caught cold but Krammer quickly evened this up after a rare piece of enterprise by Bury was rewarded.
However for the next 30 minutes Braintree went on to have the better of the game. Sitting at the foot of the table, the Black and Ambers clearly have to fight for their London 1 survival and they defended for their lives.
Whilst the Bury side played with no structure or patterns, the home side battled and stretched for every yard gained.
Braintree deservedly took the lead midway through the half when an attacking scrum 20 metres out led to a drive to the line. A ruck was formed and when the ball came back, a Braintree flank forward crashed onto the ball on a good angle for a well-taken try.
Chastened, Bury tried to raise their game but time and again they tried to go too wide too soon or try difficult passes when a more structured game was required.
Braintree were hanging on, but their defence was getting more desperate and with both sides having seen a man in the bin and then return, Braintree lost their second player to the bin. On the stroke of half time Bury took advantage of their one-man advantage to level the scores. A penalty was kicked into the corner and after a couple of close quarter drives, No. 8 Warren Kearney drove over from short range.
Bury started the second half in more determined mood and despite a slow start, they went onto score 41 unanswered points.
Scrum-half Dennis was enjoying his second start for the Firsts and his prompting and probing helped Bury establish a lead when he engineered a break to allow Flexman to land a penalty
Both sides introduced players from the bench, Bury using all three of their subs in short succession, including a debut for Mike Laguda, a recent arrival from Australia.
Half an hour remained and finally the Bury players began to heed the instructions from the coaching team.
Frost and Krammer launched a glorious counter attack from deep with Frost again reappearing 10 metres out to almost score. The forwards arrived en masse and Dan Cracknell was credited with the score after he rumbled over.
The hosts’ brave defence was beginning to wilt visibly as Bury began to stick to playing controlled rugby, stretching the Braintree players to the limit.
A poor clearance kick was well fielded by Jo Flexman who returned the ball with interest. A well-timed pass to his brother Nick sent him away down the right wing and he in turn timed his pass to perfection inside to the supporting Eggars for the match winning score.
Krammer’s conversion made it 25-8 and the game was finished as a contest.
Bury played with a patience not seen earlier and were prepared to keep the ball until a gap finally opened. The bonus point was secured when Barry Frost was on the end of an overlap to score wide out.
To their credit, Braintree continued to try and create chances but they came up against the defence that has been operating at the top end of this division for some seasons now and they do not fold easily. Solid defence 10 metres from their own line was turned over and the enterprise to run the ball was rewarded when Frost, now at full-back, escaped to launch a huge downfield kick. The pace of the 15 won the race to the ball but as defenders closed in on him, he showed an audacious piece of skill to gather the ball and then pop off the ball to the supporting Nick Flexman for a great score.
Braintree were clearly rattled and their cause was not helped when a player was shown a red card for a second yellow card offence at the break down.
The home side were tired and broken. No. 8 Kearney broke through several ineffectual tackles to score by the posts.
In the final minute of the game Braintree were unfairly punished once again for their attempted enterprise. The attack was laboured and desperate and inevitably broke down. Tim Mann swept up the spilt ball and raced away untouched for a 50-metre score.
London 3 NE Stowmarket 94 Newmarket 21
STOWMARKET recorded a stunning victory over their former Eastern Counties rivals Newmarket – the team who denied them promotion in to the London leagues two seasons ago.
Chris Wilson scored four and Dan Garrard three tries in this London 3 North East romp which showed just how much progress the hosts have made.
After going behind to an early converted try, Stowmarket showed signs of their intent with a try of their own, scored by flanker Bob Burch.
Two minutes later, in the 12th minute, the hosts increased their advantage when No. 8 Chris Wilson crashed over the line for an unconverted try following a tap and go.
Almost a quarter into the game and a rampant Stowmarket secured their third try when Wilson stole the ball from a defensive line-out and fed Stu Hill who ran half the length of the field for a further five points. Tom Searles converted the extras.
Searles was at it again straight from the restart, this time converting after Dan Garrard got on the scoresheet. However, the game was not over.
Newmarket hit back and scored their second try which was successfully converted and then added a third, moments later, when a clearance was charged down.
That riled Stowmarket and Garrard grabbed his second try of the game with Searles adding the conversion.
Just before the break, Wilson scored his second try of the game – a try which was converted.
After a quiet start to the second half, Stowmarket won two successive penalties and hooker Jack Haward crashed over the Newmarket try line to score.
From the restart, Garrard scored his hat-trick and this was converted making the score 52-21.
In the 59th minute Stowmarket had a line-out five metres away from the try line and prop Colin Clarke scored, once again Searles converting.
Wilson then joined Garrard in scoring his hat-trick – a try that was converted before winger, Watson added his name to the scoresheet.
From the restart Burch cut through the defending line and found Wilson who scored his fourth.
With less than five minutes left, Hill grabbed his second try under the posts and Searles converted, before scrum-half Joe Fifield wrapped up proceedings, Searles converting.
Eastern Counties 1 Ipswich YM 25 West Norfolk 27
IT has been a hard few weeks for the YM 1st XV with league games against all the division’s top opposition. Once again the YM just fell short of the win against West Norfolk.
After a fantastic start which saw the YM lead 10-0, West Norfolk were gifted a try when very poor defence allowed them to score under the posts.
This picked the YM up and the next 15 minutes saw some great attacking play from the hosts and Dower went over for a great try.
With the score now 15-7 it looked as if the YM pressure was going to result in another score when a very poor pass saw a West Norfolk back intercept the ball and run the length of the pitch to score.
With the score now 15-14 the YM did have enough time to convert a penalty to go in at half time 18-14 up.
The second half will be a half that the YM will want to forget with mistake after mistake giving West Norfolk more and more of the ball.
This resulted in a converted penalty and then two tries giving West Norfolk a 27-18 lead.
For the last 10 minutes the YM did start playing like they can again and with eight minutes left a Healey try and Elliston conversion made the score 25-27 and set up a tense last few minutes.
Next weekend sees a break from the league with the 1st XV taking on Essex League 1 leaders Billericay in Round Three of the National Vase.
With so many injuries this season the YM are looking for new players in all positions for their 1st XV.
Anyone interested should contact Andrew Moore on 07955812251.
Suffolk Merit League 1 Haverhill 13 Diss Saracens 13
HAVERHILL took 20 minutes to get on the scoreboard, after a “handbags at dawn” incident with Mark Jury and the Diss open-side flanker saw both players resting for 10 minutes.
A penalty was kicked to five metres out by Adam Hunt and the resulting line-out ball was gathered and a drive ensued. Dave Quinney was on hand to pick and drive, using his awesome strength to part the Diss defence and a 5-0 score.
Diss were not to be kept out though and following another good line-out, the ball was spun wide and into the corner for 5-5.
A penalty to Haverhill on 33 minutes was then converted by Hunt for 8-5 and this is how the teams turned round at half time.
It was always going to be a tight second half and on 55 minutes, some undisciplined play in the breakdown saw Diss draw level with a penalty.
Haverhill began to camp in the Diss half, and it was not surprising that some great pick and drive rolling ball from all forwards saw Ricky Brown score on the hour. The Hunt conversion attempt went just wide.
Five minutes later, the scoring was complete when the Diss fly-half gave a speculative kick to the corner. An attempted gather from winger Joe Brown only succeeded in presenting the ball to the chasing Diss backs and after a few tackles a try ensued which was unconverted.
The final of the Suffolk Plate against Felixstowe takes place at the Castle Fields ground with a 2pm kick- off to allow for extra time if required.
Championship South East 2 Oakmedians Ladies 37 Woodbridge Amazons 10
FOLLOWING two consecutive league wins, the Woodbridge Amazons travelled to Bournemouth with an air of confidence to play what they knew was going to be a tough match against a team in third place in Championship South East 2.
The Amazons received the kick-off and gradually put the pressure on the home team, moving up into the opposition’s half.
However, it was not long before Oakmedians made the most of the gaps in the Amazons’ back line to score under the posts.
The Amazons’ forwards proved dominant throughout the game but the team’s over-commitment to the rucks and mauls left isolation within the backs enabling Oakmedians to capitalise and score twice more leaving the travelling side down by 15 points in the first half.
A number of changes at half time saw forward of the match Michaela Woodley move from the wing to second row but it was soon after the restart that the Amazons went a player down due a yellow card for collapsing a maul.
This enabled Oakmedians to capitalise on the gaps created around the park.
The Amazons had to up their game and there was some good strong running from back of the match Chloe Stopard-Baker but it was good vision from captain Lou Rickard who was able to put EJ Stearn through a gap to get the Amazons first score on the board.
This injected some much-needed confidence in the travelling side and immediately after, full-back Emma Johnson received the kick from the restart and ran the length of the pitch to score the Amazons’ second try under the posts.
However they were unable to score again and the home side finished strongly to complete their win.
Woodbridge Amazons play at Blackheath next weekend.