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Diss poised for crunch clash at title rivals

PUBLISHED: 11:16 17 February 2017

Robbie Gray heads for the try-line as Holt take on Romford and Gidea Park. Picture: STUART YOUNG

Robbie Gray heads for the try-line as Holt take on Romford and Gidea Park. Picture: STUART YOUNG

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Diss face their biggest test of the season so far when they travel to Essex to take on fellow London Two North East promotion hopefuls South Woodham Ferrers tomorrow.

The battle to finish top has been pretty much a two-horse race for some time now, and the winners of this one will certainly be in the driving seat, with just five matches to be played after the weekend.

Diss start the day just one point clear at the top after winning all but two of their fixtures this season, while drawing one and suffering just one defeat.

South Woodham Ferrers have won 14 and lost two, with one of those defeats coming at Mackenders in late October when they went down 27-20 in a keenly contested encounter.

They were some way adrift at that stage, having seen a number of matches called off because of problems with their pitch, but have recently caught up with their fixtures and emerged as Diss’s only genuine title rivals, with Cantabrigian 17 points back in third.

Winning tomorrow could mean the difference between clinching promotion automatically and facing the lottery of a play-off – so there will be no quarter asked or given as the two top sides in the division go head to head.

Meanwhile, Holt travel to the outskirts of London for only their second visit to Coopers’ Company & Cobham School to take on Old Cooperians. Holt will be praying for a similar outcome to their first game there when they came away with a 25-8 victory.

Another narrow defeat at home last weekend – 15-10 against Romford and Gidea Park – at first seemed like a disaster, especially after one of the grittiest performances of the season from a young side against an experienced and much bigger outfit.

However, with their nearest rivals in the league Ipswich suffering defeat at the hands of Cooperians, Holt closed the gap to 11 points.

It’s now looking like a two-horse race to finish outside the bottom two and Holt know that, with six games remaining, they must gain 12 more points than Ipswich to overhaul the Suffolk side.

Ipswich are away to Epping Upper Clapton, the side immediately above them, tomorrow.

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