A GREAT MATCH TO FINISH LEAGUE SEASON
Report by Graham Pratt
In the end Diss showed why they have dominated this league with their superior finishing and support play but they had to fight very hard to win this one.
The score line does not reflect the full story of this terrific, competitive and fine quality match where Rochford took the game to their high-flying opponents and scored six tries in the process.
On a lovely sunny Spring afternoon, the large crowd were entertained by a 15 try bonanza with fast flowing rugby from both sides.
It did not start well for Rochford going down 5 points very early on but they responded straight away with a well taken try by hooker Scott Turner to level the score.
This was followed up by another very similar effort from Turner and Matt Stewart converted from the touchline to put his side 12-5 ahead.
Diss replied with a converted try from their classy full back to level at 12-12 and then scored a further two converted tries to pull further away.
The game was being played at a frantic pace with the ball moving quickly from forwards to backs and back again from both teams.
Rochford always looked dangerous when in possession and every time full back mark billings had the ball Diss found him more than a handful as he stormed through their defence to link with his back division.
He showed this power outstandingly when he picked up the ball deep in his half and glided and sped through Diss’s cover to dive over in the corner for an outstanding try.
Once again the home outfit raised their game to race over for a converted try to take the score to 17-33 at the break.
Set scrums and lineout were fiercely contested by both sides and Rochford were aggressive in the loose.
The game continued in the same vein in the second half and Diss went over again for a converted try but the Essex boys came back hard and both Nik Grier and Tom Corbet went over to score and Stewart
Converted one of these to bring the scoreboard to 29-40 and the visitors seemed to be getting the edge.
Diss were determined that their final afternoon was not going to be spoilt and promptly responded with another converted try to pull away again.
Once again Rochford found that extra effort and Billings finished off a fine piece of attacking play and Stewart added the 2 points to bring the score to 36-47.
A pulsating final few minutes ensued but this was where the extra class of the home team clicked in and with excellent support play saw them go over for 2 more tries, one of which was converted to finish proceedings.
Diss were confirmed well deserved champions but they knew they had been pushed all the way by this much-improved Rochford outfit who probably saved their best performance of their season for this game.
Well done to all the squad for all your hard work and really giving it everything in this last league outing. We are proud of the way you played and the class you showed.
The league season is now over but we still have some unfinished business to do when Rochford take on Romford and Gidea Park in the Essex Cup Final on 22nd April.