Stand-in captain backing Diss to move up the table
Chris Cooper is confident that Diss Cricket Club have the necessary quality within their ranks to not only fight off the threat of relegation, but also potentially end the campaign in a mid-table position.
With just four matches of the 2016 Dipple and Conway Opticians Norfolk Alliance Premier Division left to play, the Rectory Meadow-based outfit are level on points with second- from-bottom Cromer.
However, Cooper, who is standing in as captain in the absence of injured skipper James Wilby, has backed his side to move up the table over the coming weeks.
“We want to stay in this league because with the exception of the East Anglian Premier League, it is the best in the region,” he said.
“Our position does not look great, but if we get one win and those above us lose, all of a sudden we will be in and around the middle of the table.
“We need to have some self belief because anything can happen in this division.
“The team is more than capable of picking up 80 or 100 points between now and the end of the season, which would probably move us into the top five.
“I would not be playing if I did not have full belief in my team-mates. Nobody is worried about relegation.”
Cooper’s point is highlighted by the fact that Diss’ visitors tomorrow (1pm) - neighbours Old Buckenham - are currently sat in fifth position, yet are only 21 points better off.
When the duo met at Old Bucks back in June, it was Diss that came out on top by a 37-run margin.
It was an encounter most memorable for the performance of the Tooke brothers - Rob and David - as they scored a combined 193 of Diss’ 273 runs that afternoon.
Just nine miles separate the two venues, but despite the close proximity, Cooper has insisted that there is no bad blood between the sets of players.
“There is a lot made of the rivalry between the teams, but there really is no animosity whatsoever. There never has been,” he added.
“We have been playing them for so long now and we all know each other well.
“We are just a bunch of lads who play together and socialise together.
“It does not matter who the opposition are, we just need to start getting wins on the board, starting Saturday.”
After missing last weekend’s victory away at Sprowston, Cooper will come back into the side, most likely at the expense of Campbell Young.
But there is no return date for the sidelined Wilby as he continues to struggle with a knee problem.
“We do not know when James will be back, but we are all hoping that it will be sooner rather than later,” said his deputy.