Diss U14's 34 vs North Walsham 39
By Peter Allott
So close - hard work beginning to pay off
Diss U14's hosted North Walsham in a thoroughly entertaining and close match.
The take away from the match is not the final scoreline, but the many positives from a whole team performance. The result was agonising given it could have gone either way on a day when both teams played 13 as they were tight on numbers.
The last two weeks have seen the boys training hard on rucking, passing, and keeping possession - all areas that have cost them in the first 2 matches. Coaches Johnny and Mark were very pleased to see that there was a marked difference in performance on these aspects. The result was the team had more of the ball which enabled them to get ball to our strengths - the fast players out wide.
The match started in sunshine, but as is becoming an alarming trend it was only a matter of 1 minute before the opposition scored from the kick off. Sloppy tackling and a lack of 'get up and go' handed a gift to Walsham. However it did perk the boys up and they started to play more as a team. Rucking was more aggressive and structured - thanks to hard work on the training field - and the boys started to pass and retain possession. Pressure was applied and it was not long that they moved the ball wide to Finlay Dyson - on his debut - who streaked down the wing beating a host of players for a certain score. Unfortunately for Finlay his foot touched the line and the score was called back, however with this run he certainly announced his arrival. Minutes later a similar move saw him beat the Walsham team again only to suffer the same mistake as many of his team mates and place the ball over the wrong line - tough but good learning in his first game.
The team continued to play well with good possession. Soon direction switched to the other wing where Will Elliott - in his third game - blitzed through 2 tackles, rounded the defence and ran in to score under the posts. Great play by Will whose tackling across the match was on a par with his strong running. Aaorn Locktich converted and is getting a better and better kicker reflecting the practice he is putting in. Will soon scored a second try demonstrating strong running to break tackles and out pace Walsham. It was noteworthy and pleasing to see a number of the boys doing handoffs - something from training - and also passing when caught in contact or on the way down from a tackle. Again training makes it to the match.
Walsham responded with a try of their own as they set up a number of probing moves. One person who really deserves mention is Will Worley who at full back must have saved 7 certain trys with his 'last man tackling' - our very own Diehard. He really is becoming a great full back and the team owe him thanks. Let's hope more early tackles are made so Will is called on less frequently.
The next Diss score was just before half time, and for me was the move of the match. Good Diss rucking allowed Alex Allott to steal the ball, and then feed out to Jacob Fairweather. Jacob was blocked on his wing but able to move cross field, when 2/3rds of the way was blocked again so sent a long looping pass to the other winger Finlay Dyson who with space was easily able to out run the Walsham defenders. It was almost 7's rugby, and a joy to watch. Congratulations Finlay on your first try...the first on many I suspect!!
After half time Walsham again scored. Diss took this with ease and went ahead with a brilliant running try by Jacob Fairweather complemented by another from Finally Dyson, and a final one from Will Elliot. The point to note for the team is that every one of their 6 trys came from the wide players...nothing through the centre. When we move the ball and retain it we have such pace that no one can keep up, and with half term ending we have even more pace returning.
The boys led Walsham by one try at this point, and it looked certain to be by two with the minutes running out as Jacob Fairweather ran free to the try line. However a great piece of play by the lone Walsham defender held Jacob up in the try area and there was no score. Unfortunately the team conceded a try at the death which were hard to take and one felt the boys were extremely unlucky to be in this position - but that is the way it goes and they have to take the bad rolls with the good ones - it will balance out in the end....so we are due some good fortune on the pitch.
I have mentioned the try scorers, but this was a TEAM performance and the wingers would not have done anything unless everyone had played their part - rucking, retaining possession and then getting the ball wide. It is something we need to drum in every match until it becomes routine and the boys can see that this is their way to succeed.
Mention should go to the pack - who were outweighed and had a tough day winning only 2 scrums. But against this their open play was outstanding, so well done Charlie North, Tom Vettraino, Connor Fell, Charlie Groves, Kit Brodie, Jake Wolfe. The backs played a key role in keeping the ball moving - it was great to have Joseph Davison back as he passes the ball really well and is there at every breakdown, as did Harry Edmund, Alex Allott and Santos Ledesma forming a strong core at fly half and centres.
Aaaron Locktich as scrum half had a good game, and was invaluable as his kicking is really helping the team. The scrum half duty was shared with Jake Hayhoe who made his debut for the U14's (his is still U13). He was a real asset to the team and clearly is someone to watch for the future showing genuine talent that belies his age. He is not intimidated by anything and it was great to see him being vocal with his teammates - something we could really do with. Congratulations Jake and welcome to the team.
The match ended just before Diss were able to score again and win the match which was a pity, but as has been said this was a totally different team and performance from anything else this season - a real step up. The coaches advised how pleased they were with this and thanked the boys. With the wider squad returning from Half Term breaks the team will be back at full strength, although this creates some good problems with so many good players across the squad.
Next training is on Tuesday (18:45) and the next match is next Sunday 4th November versus Crusaders (at home).
Thanks to all the parents, carers and supporters who were there 'enjoying' the last rays of sun, and watching a truly entertaining and close match.