Diss to travel to Sudbury for first time in three years, with hopes of first win of the season
Head coach Dave Smith believes his side’s derby trip to Sudbury in London 1 North could be the spark to ignite a fire in the belly of their season.
Diss Rugby Club will face their Suffolk opposition on Saturday (3pm) with a solitary point to their name from their opening 11 fixtures, and have yet to taste victory.
But Smith is surprisingly relaxed about the club’s 15-point gap to safety – with three teams due to be demoted at the end of the season – while also eagerly anticipating Saturday’s clash.
“We are always up for playing Sudbury,” the coach, who is due to step away from the club at the end of the season, said.
“We’ve been in and around the same level for many, many years and so the two clubs have played each other quite a few times.
“It adds excitement to the whole fixture. There are a few past matches between the sides that club members seem to remember, so it will be a competitive game – there’s lots riding on it for both of us.
“When your back’s against the wall, you have only one place to go though.
“It’s incredibly hard to overturn a losing run. Losing is like a disease really, so you just have to work hard.
“Hard work will bring us rewards eventually, we’re far from giving up this fight yet.
“And a game like this, a Norfolk/Suffolk derby between us, could be just the thing we need to get our season going.”
Sudbury, who are in their first season back at this level having been promoted from London 2 North at the end of last season, were on the losing end of both of their last meetings, in the 2015/16 season – when they were both in London 2 North East.
Diss were one of only three teams to inflict losses on what was Graham Richard’s last season in charge, and it is a memory their opposition are keen to fix.
In that season, it was a battle at the top of the table, but Saturday will see two clubs face off who have found life hard at this level and sit at the other end of the league.
The home team have only three wins to their name so far this season, although victory in their last fixture sees them come into the game having ended a six-game losing streak.
But Sudbury’s form is not a concern to Smith.
“Whether they were on a winning run or not is not something we will worry about,” he said.
“We have to focus on what we can do well and target the things that they don’t do well.
“I’m expecting it to be a good game though, both teams will see it as a chance to pick up points – and, for us, it’s absolutely essential.
“We need points – every game has become a must- win for us now.
“It’s tough to take when you’re on a run like this, but I have no complaints about the effort being put in, so it will come, I’m sure of it.”
He added that he hoped a ‘good crowd’ would make the effort to travel to Sudbury for Saturday, with previous encounters seeing big crowds.
“The team are fighting adversity itself really, they are working really hard, and it would be great to see a good crowd come along to see us try to change those fortunes around,” he said.
“Although the North Walsham fixture is probably our closest derby, Sudbury is probably our quickest journey, believe it or not.
“We’re only two or three wins from being well in the fight – 15 points sounds a lot, but it really isn’t when you can get five points from one game.
“It really isn’t as bad as you might think on first glance, we’re close to getting there – we really are.”
More by this authorHannah Dolman