Saffron Walden came close to victory in this rescheduled match but in the end had to settle for two bonus points against their Norfolk visitors.
The game started in dry sunny conditions although the wind was to become an increasing factor as time went on. And it was the home team who took an early lead with hooker Sam Eardley scoring on the left wing after just three minutes play. A difficult conversion was missed to leave the lead at 5-0. The home side did extend that lead, however, as loosehead prop Harry Stocking burrowed over close to the posts following a sustained attack on the Diss goal-line. A successful conversion from fly-half Nick Dawson brought the score to 12-0.
The home team dominated territory for the rest of the first half, with captain for the day Tom Pryke, man of the match Simon Pailegutu and player of the week Matt Howe showing strongly in both attack and defence. They were unable to add to the scoreline however and instead the visitors pulled themselves back into the game with the elusive Shaun Blyth evading the green defence shortly before the interval to bring the score to 12-7.
The second half opened with a penalty to Saffron Walden in front of the posts duly converted by Dawson, but then Diss began to put the hosts under sustained pressure, scoring two tries and converting one to take the lead as the game entered its final quarter. And that final quarter was to prove an exciting one. Adam Clarke set the tone by scoring a try on the left wing as Walden put together several attacking phases of play before fly-half Dawson released the three quarters into space. With the wind getting stronger, the conversion was missed but Walden were once again in the lead, if only by a single point – 20-19.
The lead was to prove short-lived as Diss full back Blyth collected a bouncing ball in midfield and evaded several tacklers to complete his hat-trick under the posts. 20-26 with ten minutes remaining in the match.
With Diss down to 14 players following a yellow card for a high tackle, Walden were fighting for the win, and when prop Adam Smith became the third member of the front row to score they were only one point behind. Sadly for the home team that was the end of the scoring. With a late penalty attempt falling short, Walden were left to reflect on the fact that while the two bonus points could prove vital at the end of the season this was perhaps one that got away.
Team: Stocking, Eardley, Smith; Potter, McGinn; Howe, Pailegutu, Pryke (Capt); Pritchard, Dawson; Brown, Goodin, Clarke, Vili; Webber; Powell, Marshall, Stapleton