OA’s defiant defence denies Diss victory
National Three London & SE Diss 16 Old Albanian 17 OLD Albanian travelled again up into Norfolk to play Diss, a club promoted last season, and one which OA had not had played for eight years since the two clubs were both in the old London North Two leagu
National Three London & SE
Old Albanian 17
OLD Albanian travelled again up into Norfolk to play Diss, a club promoted last season, and one which OA had not had played for eight years since the two clubs were both in the old London North Two league.
In the end, OA were fortunate to get a result against tenacious opposition backed by a large, passionate band of supporters.
With the wind in their favour, OA started lethargically and gave away two penalties in the first five minutes in very kickable positions, both of which Diss failed to convert. Then after 10 minutes, Diss opened the scoring from the first meaningful three-quarter move, finished off by a strong run from the Diss number seven. The ensuing passage of play saw OA steal a lineout, Diss giving away a penalty but kicking their way out of trouble, before Terry Adams made his mark with a tremendous hit and Chris May began making strong runs.
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The away team began to pick up the pace of their game, James Ellershaw making yards. Jamie Hearn was held up just short of the line after the first OA pressure scrum. But from two messy lineouts by the visitors, followed by a penalty at the scrum Diss regained their momentum. The home side used their backs well and were rewarded with a penalty to open up an 8-0 lead.
OA replied with some probing runs from Mark Evans and Adams. Diss conceded two quick penalties, the second of which was converted by Richard Gregg.
Almost from the restart, Gregg hoisted a huge kick which Diss did not deal with and another penalty put OA within two points at 6-8.
Diss knocked on from that restart and OA exerted more pressure from the set piece. Paul Gustard ran powerfully from number eight and another penalty against Diss put OA ahead through the sure boot of Gregg 9-8.
The game swung firmly in OA's favour when Gregg took a quick penalty and ran in unopposed to make it 14-8.
Hearn and May combined well and, had Gregg not collided with Adams in midfield following a good move, OA could and should have gone further ahead before half time.
But how a game can change as OA lost their shape and discipline.
Diss were camped on the OA line for some seven minutes but a massive effort from the forwards and good defence from Edwards, Adams and Lincoln kept Diss out until they were rewarded with a penalty which they successfully converted.
Having weathered this storm, OA did get into the opposition 22.
Lincoln made good yards, as did Ellershaw, as the pack began to dominate with Hamilton looking dangerous and Gustard controlling the back of the line.
Sam Townsend, making his first full appearance, made a super break but the inside pass went agonisingly forward. Still it seemed that a score had to come. Gregg took the inside option when a wide pass would have done it. Finally a penalty was awarded to OA but Gregg saw his simple kick bounce off the upright.
And so the frustration set in, three yellows cards were given against OA and one against Diss.
Diss came back strongly but OA held and in fact went 11-17 ahead with another penalty kick.
Diss received their yellow but then attacked wonderfully and OA missed a vital tackle to bring the score back to 16-17 with five minutes to go.
However, in the last minute Diss were awarded a penalty to win the match but missed. The OA's magnificent defence had held out - just!