Colchester 1st XV 78 | 21 Diss RFC
By Richard Parker
In a well-rounded team performance, Colchester secure the playoff spot against Brighton on 27th of April
Colchester travelled to Diss and came away after a comprehensive victory winning by twelve tries to three. With other results confirmed it means that the Blacks will have a home match against Brighton in the second place play-offs on 27th April much to the delight of the home spectators.
Skipper Liam Pickett returned to the team and there was much interchanging during this match between him and the other two locks Ollie White and Alex Burman. Brock Price made a big impact when he joined the fray for his last game with Colchester before returning to New Zealand. Toby Hill also gave an impressive performance when he came on for hard-working prop Alex Mitchell.
Almost straight after their kick off, Colchester won a scrum on halfway, quickly moved the ball to fullback Harry Barton who sped forward and scored. Wing James Crozier was unsuccessful with the conversion but went on to nail ten of the remaining eleven kicks.
Diss restarted and their scrum half made inroads through the Black defence and offloaded to lock and captain John Bergin for their first try. This put Diss ahead for the only time in the game and there followed ten minutes of nip and tuck before the referee awarded Diss a scrum five metres from their posts. An excellent shove by the Black pack took them back over the try line for scrum-half and debutant Will Tillett to claim a good try.
Later Barton shot down the left wing, fed supporting flanker Danny Whiteman who scored the next try. Before long fly half Brett Cutbush finished off an excellent backs move when the ball was shipped first right then left for him to jink through a gap to claim the fourth bonus-point score.
Whilst trying to stem the tide one of Diss's flankers played the ball on the floor and was yellow carded. The Blacks pressed forward yet again and centre Sol Hyde burst through to score just before half time.
Most of the second half followed a similar pattern as Colchester ran rings around the home defence scoring a further five tries without reply. Barton got his second then Crozier added one before Whiteman too got his second. Then both Barton and Whiteman claimed their hat tricks showing a turn of speed to outpace their opponents. The visitors were now 7-66 ahead with a quarter of an hour remaining.
All credit to Diss, they kept going and their talisman fullback Chris Beaird crashed through the defence to score and convert their second try. With the clock running down Colchester came back and good work at a turned- over lineout got the ball to prop James Mitchell who steamed over for a good forwards' try.
Soon hooker Dan Brennan raced over to make the score 14-78. Diss managed a consolation try through Beaird again before the final whistle. There were obviously many contenders for the Man-of-the-Match award but in the end, it was awarded to Tillett for his assured first-time appearance.