Diss chairman Andy Jermy ‘immensely proud’ as side win against West Norfolk and pay tribute to Arturas Rudys
Diss chairman Andy Jermy insists this could be the most ‘close-knit squad the club has ever had’ after seeing Clive Bell’s side beat West Norfolk 24-19 on an emotional day at Mackenders on Saturday.
It was the first game the hosts had played since the death of 27-year-old Wisbech player Arturas Rudys during their match in Cambridgeshire on October 14.
The club paid their respects to Rudys in many ways at the weekend. A minute’s silence was held before the match and both teams retired Rudys’ 14 shirt number from their squads.
There was also a collection to raise money for his partner and two-year-old child that yielded £755.
This was on top of the £27,000 raised on a GoFundMe page and Jermy stated that ‘the rugby family have come together to support his family’.
He said: “I was immensely proud of the players. They have been together as a group ever since the events of that Saturday. They made the decision to play and I thought they did themselves and the club proud. It truly was great to see and I’m really pleased.
“The game was played in fantastic spirit, it was really good. All of the Diss players who had been involved the week before took part on Saturday and they were all pleased that they were able to do so.
“I have been involved with the club for over 15 years and I think this will be the most close-knit team the club has ever had. Since the event, there has been several occasions where to a man they have all been together and really looked after each other. If any of them have a difficult moment, everyone else is there for them.”
Four Wisbech players also came to Mackenders to show their support for Diss, with Jermy saying they had all been ‘instantly recognised’ from the weeked before. The hosts had not been made aware that they were going to be in attendance at the game, which made their appearance even more powerful.
Jermy said: “After an event like this our two clubs will be linked in a particular way in the future. It was touching that four of their players had come down – it was fantastic on their part.”
On the field, Diss flew out of the traps and pressed West Norfolk in their own half, which led to an early three points.
After a continued display of dominance throughout the first half, Bell’s side went into the break 18-12 to the good.
Two kicked penalties from the hosts in the second half just about took the game out of West Norfolk’s reach, despite their best efforts to level the contest.
After a busy and draining few weeks for Diss, they are not in action this weekend.
Sitting ninth in Counites 1 Eastern Counties they travel to North Walsham II for a derby fixture on November 4 (3pm).
Jermy said: “The difference this will make is, those clubs that have a team rather than a bunch of strong individuals are the more successful in this league. They are so close that they want to pay for each other and we’ll build on this now.”