Pressure is off leaders Diss in promotion race

CLOSING IN: Chris Cooper, pictured, and his Diss team-mates will be looking to take a big step towards gaining promotion when they face Stow in their penultimate game of the season tomorrow
CLOSING IN: Chris Cooper, pictured, and his Diss team-mates will be looking to take a big step towards gaining promotion when they face Stow in their penultimate game of the season tomorrow

Chris Cooper insists Diss Cricket Club will not be putting too much pressure on themselves, despite promotion being mathematically possible this weekend.

Heading into their penultimate game of 2017, at home to fourth-placed Stow tomorrow (1pm), Diss hold a healthy 31-point lead at the top of Cecil Amey Opticians Norfolk Alliance Division One table.

Despite their promotion rivals, Swardeston II, Dereham and Stow, all having a game in hand on Diss, the Rectory Meadow-based outfit remain in pole position to bounce straight back to the Premier Division at the first attempt.

A 25-point haul for Diss against Stow this weekend, coupled with Swardeston picking up five points or less and/or Dereham gaining six points or less, would secure a promotion place.

With Diss set to sit out next week as their title rivals all play their game in hand, opening batsman Cooper knows how important a victory tomorrow would be to their top-two prospects.

“We’re taking it game by game and not getting ahead of ourselves,” said the all-rounder, who has scored 635 runs and taken 23 wickets so far this season.

“A win this week against Stow would put us in good stead, but we’ve played a game more than the other teams around us.

“Obviously, getting a good win on Saturday would make sure we’re at the top going into the final game.

“But we’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves, it’s game by game and we’ll see where we end up.”

Diss head into tomorrow’s clash on an 11-match unbeaten run, with nine wins and two abandonments to their name since losing at home to Dereham by two runs on May 20.

A seven-match winning streak which stretched from late May to mid July was only thwarted by back-to-back abandonments, with Diss having looked in strong positions to win both of those games.

A half century from skipper Mark Williamson, and a four-wicket haul from Cooper, helped Diss get back to winning ways last Saturday, as they saw off mid-table Thetford Town by 86 runs.

“It would be a big thing for the club (to get promoted),” Cooper said.

“We started the year and lost quite a few players, so to bounce straight back would be brilliant.

“The committee at the club do a fantastic job and we’re giving them the results on the pitch.”

David Cokeley, who missed the Thetford win last time out, is also unavailable for tomorrow’s clash with Stow.