A Day of Missed Opportunities
As Woodham loose 1st Home game in London 1 North
South Woodham Ferrers RFC will rue the missed opportunities as they lose their London 1 North opener to Diss 8 – 18. The two newly promoted teams played out a tough encounter in the September sunshine, which saw just three tries scored in the 80 minutes, despite numerous chances for both teams.
It was Woodham who opened the scoring within the first five minutes with a fine try from winger Joey Dukelow, after a strong Woodham scrum. Although the conversion was missed the home fans hoped that this would set the tone for the afternoon. Some poor discipline during the middle of the half allowed Diss to take the lead with two penalties as both sides struggled to gain the ascendancy.
Despite going behind Woodham kept up the pressure with chances going begging as the Diss defence held strong. A number of handling errors and a couple of strange kicking decisions saw the ball slip away from the Woodham attack at that crucial moment and the lads will know that this cost them the game.
With the first half drawing into its closing 10 minutes another penalty gave Diss the opportunity to punt the ball deep into the Woodham twenty two. The resulting line out saw Diss drive over under the post for their first try of the day. With the conversion Diss led by 13 points to 5.
Woodham hit back and were rewarded for a period of sustained pressure with a penalty which Adam Brown converted and the sides went into the break with the score at 8 – 13.
For Woodham the second half was full of frustration as they began to dominate the field. The set piece performed almost faultlessly with a dominant scrum and a well functioning lineout giving the home side plenty of possession. Sadly the team just couldn’t convert this into more points. A well organised Diss defence held them out but sadly much of the fault lies with the lads, white line fever and some poor handling saw numerous chances go begging. Even when Diss were reduced to 14 men, after the referee finally got frustrated by the number of penalties being given away, Woodham simply could not find that killer punch.
After some 25 minutes of sustained pressure a speculative clearing punt from the Diss defence was rewarded as it bounced back over the head of the retreating Woodham defender and into the arms of the chasing Diss attack to be touched down for their second try.
Some further spirited attacks from Woodham, particularly from Andy Williams and scrum half Kieran (Beeron) Ballinger saw Woodham again come close but there was to be no miracle come back and the game ended 8 – 18.
In the end Diss showed why they romped away with the league last season; a very well organised defence and the ability to finish clinically despite being under enormous pressure, saw them take the points and thwart a spirited Woodham team who probably deserved more.
The feisty debutant Kieran was the very well deserved man of the match and there should be special mentions for Aaron Plant (also impressing on his debut) and “Welsh” Dom Hoey who were able to bring on fresh legs and perform well in the last 15 minutes.