Diss Rugby Club slip to 12th defeat in a row in London 1 North at the hands of Sudbury
Diss Rugby Club have ‘second season syndrome’, according to head coach Dave Smith.
The London 1 North side fell to a heavy 52-3 defeat away to Sudbury on Saturday to suffer their 12th defeat from 12 fixtures this season.
But Smith said they have another ‘big chance’ to get their first taste of league victory this weekend, with Ruislip visiting Mackenders tomorrow (2pm).
He said: “Ruislip have also had a poor season. Every game is a must win for us now, but it’s a good fixture to follow a 52-point loss.
“Our confidence will understandably have been knocked by our result here (at Sudbury), but knowing we’re playing a team with a similar season will help us rebuild it.
“It’s less daunting to face Ruislip, at home, than the league leaders. And it’s definitely one I could see us winning. But, then again, so was our game at Sudbury.
“Unfortunately it seems to be a cyclical pattern at Diss, they go up after a couple of seasons, survive for one season and then suffer second season syndrome.
“Players come in and out, particularly when you’re playing for the love of the game not professionally, and so you rarely start a new season with the same team you ended the last season with. You lose your star players and the higher league is a struggle.”
It had started well for the visitors, as they successfully kicked a penalty from midway in the Sudbury half after just two minutes of play.
But, despite pressure in the 22 for Diss at various points in the game, they were unable to score again.
Instead the momentum quickly changed to the home side, as they increasingly exploited space out wide, with wingers Shaun Smith and Jonny Taylor both key to Sudbury’s attacks.
Smith scored two tries and Taylor one, with further tries from Dan Harding, Jake Sumner, Sam Rust, Andy Goodbourn and Jack Dachtler to sink any hopes of Diss returning home with anything from the game.
Coach Smith said: “It definitely wasn’t the result we wanted from this game.
“The fact is you have to win your set-pieces, and we didn’t, it was an area we were really poor in, particularly in the first half.
“Second half, we sorted our scrummage out and even became quite dominant but our lineout just didn’t function.
“If you don’t win your lineouts, it’s tough, and our tackling was also poor.
“Everybody knows it though, it’s basic skills and once you get on the back foot, it becomes almost impossible to turn it around.
“We are very disappointed, we had a long talk about it, but it’s just typical of the way this season has gone. But we lost this. We only deserved three points.
“We had a few chances and made the move but then made a bad decision – that’s experience as well as ability.
“I’ve been playing quite a few youngsters, players just 18 and it shows, they haven’t yet learned to make the right decisions under pressure.”
He emphasised, however, that he had ‘absolutely nothing bad’ to say about his squad’s effort and commitment, with injuries significantly denting availability throughout the season.
“I can’t knock the effort – that’s not the issue, the issue is technical and that’s being forced by injury,” he said.
“I’ve been playing guys that haven’t had many chances in the first team before this season, if at all in their career – forced by injury – and they’re being thrown in at a very deep end in London 1.
“The standard of rugby is high in this league but I’ve had no choice. Each week I either have my first team set of forwards or backs, there has yet to be a week this season I have both available to me.
“There’s a lack of experience, and it all came undone for us at Sudbury.
“These lads don’t get paid for this, it’s all about the love of the game, and I have absolutely nothing bad to say about their efforts. It’s been an incredibly tough season.”
More by this authorHannah Dolman