Plenty of positives in defeat for the born again Dereham Vipers

The players who turned out for the reformed Dereham second team on Saturday. Picture: KIRSTY DREW

The players who turned out for the reformed Dereham second team on Saturday. Picture: KIRSTY DREW - Credit: Archant

This weekend brought a new era to Dereham as the club's second team reformed, writes Kirsty Drew and Helen Evans.

New members have joined this year, including players from Queen's Dragoon Guards at Swanton Morley, allowing the second-string Vipers to take to the field again. Saturday saw another step in the right direction, for them, and Dereham as the seconds travelled to Diss to take on their thirds.

Due to some last-minute cancellations, it was looking like it could be a misfire for the newly-rebuilt side. Fortunately the first team's Eastern Counties Two North fixture at Beccles II was postponed providing some much appreciated reinforcements in the form of Lewis Smith, Rhys Leeder, Dan Ponder and Bobo.

Looking resplendent in their new pink and black kit, the Vipers started well producing some excellent early tackles.

The deadlock was finally broken with a Diss overlap resulting in an unconverted try. Unperturbed, the Vipers went on the front foot with Bobo leading the charge with his fast and probing style of play that always asks so many questions of any opposition. Unfortunately a forward pass on the five-metre line meant that this attack did not result in the desired score.

After half-time Diss were quick out of the blocks, scoring a well-deserved try off the back of a driving maul from their line-out which was effective all afternoon. Again, the Vipers rallied with relentless pressure on the Diss line.

An inspired punt through by Bobo gained much territory and a fortunate knock on from a Diss player gave the Vipers a scrum within the Diss 22. The visitors' powerful pack were dominating the scrum and provided the starting point for several powerful driving runs with Lewis Smith finally powering over the line.

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Perhaps distracted by their success, the Vipers let a dashing and darting Diss run through their ranks against the run of play, resulting in a converted home try.

Rattled – but not losing their composure – the Vipers went back on the offensive but strong carries from Rhys Leeder and Smith failed to break the Diss defence. Dereham captain Oliver Hunt spotted a gap in the opposition line but failed to ground the ball with David Watson finishing the assault and gaining a much deserved try.

The game finished 19-12 to Diss – with Justin Morfoot converting one of the scores – with their captain complementing the Vipers' solid performance and saying that it was the toughest opposition they had faced all season. Special commendation must go to Dereham president Graham Eaglesham for now playing into his 51st season!

Despite the defeat, the visiting team all left the field with smiles on their faces, looking forward to creating a strong second team for the club and to playing further games this season.

They played well, particularly considering most of the players had never played in the same team before.

Dereham are looking for players of any capability to come and play at their friendly club.

If you are interested in joining the Vipers, and are aged 17 and over, head along to training on Wednesday nights at 7pm. Contact Hunt on 07795 100290 or Ponder on 07845 705707 for more information.

The next second team fixture is January 30.

The first team are set to return to action at the weekend when they welcome West Norfolk II in a match that kicks-off at 2pm.