Cooper bullish over Beccles’ survival hopes

Beccles can turn a winless first half into 2012 survival celebrations, according to senior fly-half Alan Cooper.

The New Zealander is in his first full season with the Bulls, one so far yielding only three bonus points as they sit bottom of London Two North East.

But despite losing all 12 league matches, Cooper is confident continued improvement in training and matches can inspire a second successive survival and prolong the Bulls' position as one of East Anglia's top clubs.

'We've got a mini-plan for the next three months – we've played a lot of the top teams already and if you look at our home games, they're all against the lower teams,' said Cooper. 'So it's still on. If we win these games – and we think we can – we are going to pull off survival. We know how competitive we have been, the forward pack are dominating scrum and lineout time. Our loose play and rucks are improving every week, and the back line are showing signs of coming together. It's about to gel and if we get on a wee run of winning, we can pull off another surprise survival.'

A mid-season turnaround was enough to preserve Beccles' London 2NE status last season, the highest level the club has competed at and one only Lowestoft & Yarmouth can match, and Diss and North Walsham top.

'This is not just a fold up and go down,' added Cooper. 'We're looking to get the points to stay up and then a strategic plan for next season.

'We are just in a rut of losing games. It becomes a habit. So we are using the new year like a round of golf. We've played the front nine and it hasn't gone well, but the back nine is a different game, a different year, and Canvey Island is a perfect starter at home. We fully expect to win it and it is so important to.

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'In the last five games we've been very competitive, even the top four, and the last game against L&Y was 9-3 – and they are one of the top try scorers.

'They are a great bunch of guys. What you see is what you get and they're really starting to work hard at training. The boys are getting into it, getting blood and bruises, and that's what it's all about.

'We've blooded some young boys that are coming through, three or four of them, and I expect there will be a few more in 2012.

'Last year a couple of overseas players made a difference – this year I think the guys are missing the inspiration of a couple of big names, so that may change if we do stay up and I'm hoping we can, because we are proving we're worth midtable, and it would be a shame to go down.'

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