The 2016 campaign may have ended in relegation, but new Diss CC captain Mark Williamson has insisted it ‘would not be a disaster’ if the club were unable to bounce back at the first time of asking.
Just six victories from their 18 outings saw Diss finish second-from-bottom, ending a seven-season association with the Dipple and Conway Norfolk Cricket Alliance League Premier Division in the process.
As one of Division One’s biggest names, outside expectations will be high, but Williamson has stressed that Diss’ plans to give youth a chance may lead to a season of consolidation — which, as far as he is concerned, is no bad thing.
“We believe in our young players and want to keep hold of them. The only way they will develop is by playing, so that is what we will do,” said Willamson, who has taken over the skippering duties from James Wilby.
“It will be a lot easier for our younger players to come in and face Division One players, rather than paid professionals in the Premier Division.
“We still want to win every game we play, but while we are letting these youngsters bed in, it would not be a disaster to consolidate for a season.
“That way our prospects can gain experience and we can gel as a team.”
Diss had started the previous campaign with high expectations, with a top-four finish the main objective.
But consistent winning form eluded the team for a variety of reasons, some of which Williamson is hopeful will be eradicated under his watch.
“We believed the top four was a realistic target last year so to end up going down was a real shock,” he added.
“Results were just far too inconsistent and there were not many players that performed as well as they could have done, myself included.
“We were not good enough with the bat and ball, which sums it up.
“As well as the youngsters, we will still have a good core of experienced players and we need them around as much as possible, which did not always happen last year.”
On the departures front, former captain Wilby is unlikely to feature because of a troublesome knee injury, while Robbie West is taking a year out from the game.
The Taylor brothers — Lewis and Dan — have both committed to the club, though, having turned out towards the end of their relegation campaign.
Diss begin life in Division One tomorrow with a trip to Norwich II (1pm) — a side that finished seventh and 24 points clear of the bottom two last term.