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West Norfolk just miss out against brave Diss





Diss 24, West Norfolk 19

Despite the tragic events that occurred during the game between Wisbech and Diss last week where Wisbech player Arturas Rudy sadly died on the field of play, Diss bravely decided to return to the pitch against their old rivals.

With Dan Nunn missing through work, captain Jack Wicks away and hooker Chin Newton-Walters unavailable, West reshuffled during the week. This led to the experienced Olly Denton starting at fly-half, Jake Huggett starting at prop and Alex Miles returning to the bench as front row cover.

A minute's silence was observed before the game
A minute's silence was observed before the game

Prior to the game both teams retired the number 14 shirt in honor of Arturas and a minute’s silence was held with members of Wisbech Rugby Club also present.

Diss kicked off with a youthful-looking side and pressed West in their own half which eventually led to ill-discipline at the ruck and an early three points for the hosts.

The heavy rain in the days previous was surprisingly well absorbed by the pitch, however, the conditions were still slippery and this told for both teams with handling errors across the pitch. West’s scrum operated much more effectively than the previous week with the bolstered second row of Dan Stephenson and Jamie Williamson providing much-needed support for the props.

The number 14 shirts were retired for the game in memory of Arturas Rudys
The number 14 shirts were retired for the game in memory of Arturas Rudys

More mistakes at the ruck by West allowed Diss to kick long into touch. After securing a scrappy lineout the hosts passed the ball from one side of the pitch to the other and took advantage of a missed tackle to dive over in the corner for the opening try of the game.

Captain Hayden Revell took matters into his own hands, tapping a quick penalty in the Diss half following the kick-off and scampered to within five metres of the Diss line before a lack of support led to holding on and another Diss penalty.

Eventually West pulled together with Sam Landles and Lewis Stewart making strong breaks into the Diss half. Under the watchful eye of fly-half Denton, West navigated down the middle of the pitch into the Diss half before two quick passes wide from Houston and Moses put hooker Lewis Rudd away in the corner, bringing the score to within three.

With momentum swinging both ways, Diss looked to play out wide. After a turnover at the ruck, there was space behind the West defence and a smart kick-through was collected by the Diss winger who somehow managed to keep himself in the field of play and dot down in the corner, extending their lead again.

Lewis Rudd scores a try
Lewis Rudd scores a try

Next it was West’s turn to gather momentum, the forwards leading the charge with a number of short carries edging closer to the Diss 22-metre line.

JJ Hart then picked up from the back of the ruck and darted toward the line only to be tackled short and turned over. West would not give up, however, and as Diss attempted to clear their lines, Jamie Williamson made a magnificent charge down in the dead ball area. With the ball loose, Olly Denton dived on it, ending his six-year scoring hiatus by getting the try, and Hayden Revell converted.

As the half-time whistle approached Diss added a kicked penalty to their score before West came together to almost score a magnificent team try, only to be thwarted by a potentially unnecessary long pass going to ground and being turned over. In the final play Revell just missed a kicked penalty, leaving the half-time score at Diss 18, West Norfolk 12.

Lewis Rudd in action
Lewis Rudd in action

West knew that they would need to eliminate some of their unforced errors if they were to get themselves back in the game and their intent was evident in the first few minutes of the second half. Huge physicality in both attack and defence gave West front foot ball with number eight James Dobbler leading the charge.

A short period of ‘kick tennis’ ensued with both teams testing the hands of each other before Dobbler made an excellent cover tackle to stop a certain Diss try.

Two kicked penalties for the hosts appeared to take the game out of reach but this also lit a fire within West. Quinton Houston and the young Tim Bateman linked up well, providing much-needed territory for West before the forwards crashed the ball up to Diss’ five-metre line.

A battle for the ball between Diss and West Norfolk
A battle for the ball between Diss and West Norfolk

Strong carries from Will Allen and Sam Landles edged West closer, however some quick thinking by Diss saw the ball intercepted and the hosts sprinted up to the halfway line, undoing West’s hard work.

Not letting off, West came straight back down the pitch and this time making no mistake, James Dobbler used his brute strength to crash over the line to bring the score within five points.

The final 20 minutes became very scrappy with frustration boiling over at times in both teams. The pick of the West attacks was a bullocking run from the reliable Jamie Williamson but unfortunately, his run was cut short and unforced errors once again cost West.

In the final few minutes, West had an attacking scrum in a promising position 10 metres from the Diss try line. Despite excellent work by prop Will Allen a slightly controversial decision saw West penalised, allowing Diss to clear their lines and the hosts held on for the win. Adrian Flux man of the match was Sam Landles.

Hayden Revell in action
Hayden Revell in action

Assistant coach Jack Trundley said: “The game was a really close battle and went back and forth in some difficult conditions with the Diss kicker making the difference in the end. We have lots of positives to take from our side including our brand of rugby now starting to come to fruition. As always we will keep working hard in training and continue to improve our game plan.”

West 1sts now have a week off, returning on Saturday, November 4 when they take on Norfolk rivals Wymondham at Gatehouse Lane (kick-off TBC).

Jamie Williamson in possession
Jamie Williamson in possession
Lewis Stewart catching at the lineout
Lewis Stewart catching at the lineout
Jamie Williamson in action
Jamie Williamson in action
Ruck action from West Norfolk's game at Diss
Ruck action from West Norfolk's game at Diss

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