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John Bergin on wanting to welcome in 2023 at Mackenders with a win as Diss Rugby Club look to climb the Counties 1 Eastern Counties table

John Bergin wants to welcome in 2023 at Mackenders with a win to lift the spirits and pull Diss Rugby Club away from the bottom end of the Counties 1 Eastern Counties table.

The former Diss captain pulled on the armband for last weekend’s 35-17 defeat at Cantabrigian, in what was new head coach Clive Bell’s first game in charge.

The defeat, a fourth in succession for Diss, left them in 10th place and nervously looking over their shoulder with 11th-placed Ipswich YM having won 31-26 against West Norfolk to move level on points.

John Bergin wore the captain's armband at the weekend Picture: Mark Bullimore
John Bergin wore the captain's armband at the weekend Picture: Mark Bullimore

Diss host bottom side Thurston at Mackenders tomorrow (2pm) for their first home game of the year, and Bergin sees an opportunity for his side to halt their winless run.

“We’re taking things game by game,” he said. “We want to boost morale and to lift the spirits.

“It’s been a tough season, I’m not going to lie. I think we expected to be doing a bit better than what we are.

“That’s life and we just have to get on with it. It’s how you react and we’re looking for a good reaction this Saturday.

“We just need to build. Our aim this year is to improve every game. Last week was the first game and we’re calling it a new start, a new year with a new coach, so it’s a new start for us, despite being halfway through the season.

“I suppose our objective is to get better each game and get some wins under our belt along the way.

“We’re a bit low in the league at the moment. We’re in the bottom three and that’s not where we want to be."

Reflecting on last weekend's defeat at Cantabrigian, which saw several players make their first-team debuts, including 18-year-old Elliot Fulcher, Bergin said: "I suppose it's a case of the old cliché 'New Year, new me, a lot of changes.

"Saturday, despite the loss, I was quite happy. We fielded a very mixed team of youths, first team, second team and third team players.

"It was just after Christmas and people were still on holiday and away with their families. We had a number of absentees, but it gave other people a chance.

"We had young Elliot, who is 18 years old, who made his debut and came up from the Colts. There was a couple of third team players who had never played for the first team and they did on Saturday and they all played well."

Captain Frazer Baron is among the players expected to return for tomorrow's clash with Thurston, who got the better of Diss 28-19 in the reverse fixture back in October.

"We'll be looking to overturn the result we had at their ground," Bergin said.

"We want to give Clive something to build on and give the crowd something to cheer.

"We haven't had that many wins this season. We'd like to climb up to mid table hopefully and have a break and then go again next season and climb again.

"We've got eight or nine games left and every game is a big game, starting with Thurston at home this weekend.

"It's going to be a nice game. Our first home game of the year and Thurston is only half an hour down the road from us, so it's kind of a nice friendly derby."

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