Norwich secured a thoroughly deserved Norfolk Cup victory against Diss in conditions that called for a defined game plan and a determined defensive strategy. Norwich possessed both the elements needed, especially an outstanding rear-guard in defence, that set up a final scoring opportunity deep into the final quarter.
Norwich controlled possession from the outset placing Diss under extreme pressure. On five minutes a superb cross kick set up the visitor’s first scoring opportunity. With the ball skidding on a wet and difficult surface Theo Elliot secured possession to open the scoring and place the home side under immediate pressure. It took Diss some twenty minutes to respond, eventually controlling possession through their forwards and pressuring the Norwich twenty two. Possession from a driving line out should have resulted in a score for the home side but poor decision making and ball retention allowed Norwich to resist the onslaught time and again.
John Bergin and Matt Richards led a determined drive through the heart of the Norwich midfield allowing Aaron Forest to also use an intelligent cross kick, which was quickly seized upon by Shaun Blyth. Blyth won the foot race to the ball to draw the scores level on the stroke of half time.
With the playing conditions deteriorating rapidly in the second half, patience was required, coupled with a clear playing strategy, in order to seize the few scoring opportunities that were likely to manifest themselves. Diss attacked non- stop over a twenty minute period without any success. Time and again the entire Norwich team placed their bodies on the line in order to wait for that one opportunity to secure victory. A Diss five metre scrummage should have resulted in some sort of score but not controlling possession at crucial times proved the nemesis this week.
John Bergin and Fraser Hall manfully strove to take the game deep into the Norwich half to only see possession squandered or attacking opportunities halted by the stern Norwich defence. Deep into the final quarter Norwich lifted the siege and placed the home side under pressure for the first time in the half. Norwich were eventually awarded a penalty some thirty meters out, for an infringement at a ruck. Theo Elliot calmly stepped up to kick the penalty to secure a well- deserved and hard fought victory for the visitors.
Updated 10:50 - 16 Feb 2018 by Alan Gittins