Collins determined to keep Dagenham going despite difficult decision

Dagenham go on the attack at Millwall (pic: Tim Edwards)

Dagenham go on the attack at Millwall (pic: Tim Edwards) - Credit: Archant

Central Park outfit had to forfeit Essex One opener on Saturday because of injuries and unavailability

Dagenham head coach Mark Collins was extremely disappointed that he was forced to forfeit the clubs Essex One opener against Maldon on Saturday.

Injuries and unavailability meant the D’s had to give the points to their rivals, a sorry situation for the Central Park outfit.

Collins admits not being able to offer money has seen a number of people leave since he returned to the club at the beginning of last season.

He said: “We have got a lot of injuries. For 14 months it has been a continuous battle with players missing out through injury and being unavailable.

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“Some of them are sitting on their hands doing nothing while others have left the club to chase the silver dollar. We have had 21 players leave the club for one thing or another.

“I watched a game on Saturday and two of our former players were in the Upper Clapton second team, they wouldn’t have played in our second team, but we can’t offer them any money like others can.

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“We ended up with loads unavailable on Saturday and we have some in the second team, but they don’t want to move up and are happy keeping rugby casual.

“The decision was made with a lot of thought going into it. If we take a beating on Saturday and continue doing that then this club will be over by Christmas.”

Collins didn’t want to throw any young players into first team action when they weren’t ready so felt, alongside chairman Gary Knowlden, that the best decision was to forfeit the fixture.

Although they were able to play a Junior Vase clash against Millwall on September 12, they couldn’t get enough personnel to play at Maldon.

“Do we keep a viable club or run it into the ground until it stops. We are celebrating 25 years of Dagenham Rugby Club this year and we don’t want it to be 25 years and then we have to stop. We want to continue it for another 25 years,” insisted Collins.

“It has been a really difficult week. It has been a tough couple. Our pre-season was okay and the structure and infrastructure we have here is good and the committee are happy with me, but we just haven’t got players available.

“We are always going to be battling against it with the injuries and availability we have at the moment and it will be a tough season. I will do my job to the best of my ability and with some help from people around me we will be fine.

“We called both games off at the weekend, the first and seconds, because if the seconds had played the first team would have been deducted five points.

“We want to fulfil as many games as we can. These Essex One teams are without a fixture now because of us so hopefully we can raise a side for as many as possible and we will be working hard to try and achieve that.”

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