Old Haberdashers fully justified their fifth position in the League with a hard fought victory against a Diss side who had reduced the deficit to two points with only fifteen minutes remaining in the game. Old Habs attacked from the outset placing the home side on the back foot immediately. Solid Diss defence lasted for a good ten minutes with the Mattie Warren and Ally Brooks working hard to stem the onslaught.
An Old Habs five metre scrum controlled possession comfortably, eventually releasing Simon Miller to score a deserved opening score. Diss initially found themselves under intense pressure in the scrummage with the Sanderson brothers both exerting huge pressure on the Diss front row. As time moved on the old heads of Tim Groom and Matt Richards resolved the situation, establishing parity before the end of the first half. The award of a penalty try for Old Habs proved very harsh due to the fact that Diss actually had the ball at the back of their own scrummage.
A series of Diss attacks allowed continuity of play to improve, eventually giving Chris Beaird the opportunity to slot a deserved penalty as the half time whistle approached. Old Habs capitalised on sloppy Diss handling and positioned themselves 5 meters out with an attacking lineout. Having driven the ball from a clean take, Simon Miller seized the opportunity to score with minutes remaining in the half. Old Habs seemed able to create space and play the game at a higher pace than the home side. Great defence from Cutu Serruys and offensive thrusts from John Laurie, John Bergin and Man of the Match, Chris Beaird showed what could be achieved.
Diss hit the ground running at the beginning of the second half. For a sustained period Diss attacked the Old Habs line with George Gooderham, Tim Groom and John Laurie all going close. Old Habs defended bravely halting the onslaught until Chris Beaird crashed over to bring the Mackenders faithful to its feet. Beaird stepped up to convert his try to bring the resurgent home side back into the game with at least twenty minutes to play. The introduction of Jack Peacock had an immediate effect on proceedings. A sublime offload from Peacock sent Chris Beaird through the opposition midfield. Beaird was able to draw the Old Habs full back to send Cutu Serruys in from a good thirty metres. Beaird then stepped up to slot the conversion to bring the game to within two points with time running out.
One crucial mistake with the loss of possession in midfield immediately swung the game back towards the visitors with James Clark dominating the game for the first time. Clark has been the best number 8 in the League for some years now and helped create two further tries that ultimately secured a deserved victory. Clark was able to create opportunities with decisive breaks at pace from well within his own half. Diss deserved more from the game and would have hoped for a bonus point from their endeavours. A determined comeback in the second half highlighted the Diss resolve and the true team spirit being maintained from all the players within the squad.
Updated 20:10 - 16 Oct 2018 by Alan Gittins