A tough trip to East Grinstead has meant that both sides are without a win in the Premier Division, but will look to claim their first three points at home to Reading. James Clark and Lucy Brown revealed what the mood was like in both camps, with their league and BUCS campaigns in full swing.
Despite a goal from Tim Ehret, it was not enough, as the Men’s 1s succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at East Grinstead. While they are still searching for their first win in the Premier Division, they remain unbeaten in the BUCS league.
Do you think the score line reflected your performance against East Grinstead?
“To be honest, I felt like we didn’t really get out of first gear. We know that we can play a lot better than how we did against East Grinstead, we just gave them too many chances and were punished by it.”
“But everybody in the team knows how good we are, so I don’t think anybody was worried about score line. Obviously, it would have been good to pick up three points there and the boys are disappointed, but I don’t think I don’t anybody’s seriously worried.”
While you were unable to return from London with any points, do you think your improved defensive performance was a positive to take from the game?
I don’t feel like the score line really reflected our performance in any of our games
“Well, if you look at the goals we conceded against Old Georgians, there were two really good penalty flicks and the ones against Hampstead were breakaway goals towards the end of the game, so I don’t feel like the score line really reflected our performance in any of our games.”
“I felt that we played a lot better in the first two games than we did on Saturday, which says a lot when you only lose 2-1 and shows that when we give away corners, we do sometimes concede and it is tough. But that’s just the league we play in.”
How important is it that your next two games, including your BUCS fixture against Durham University, are at home?
“It’s so important, on Saturday we left at 10.30am and didn’t get there until 4pm, so it’s a seriously long day on the bus. And the support at home is crazy, I’m sure you could hear it when we streamed the game against Old Georgians, that the SU here is incredible.”
“You can’t fault it one bit when you have one hundred, two hundred people on the side lines cheering you on, it just gives us a whole other level.”
Has it been difficult to raise morale in the squad after a challenging start to the season in the Premier Division?
I really don’t think we’re at any stage to be to be worrying
“No, I’d say the boys are dialled in and we couldn’t have had a better preseason. The mood in camp has been so good, so I really don’t think we’re at any stage to be to be worrying. This is a seriously long season and if we throw our toys out of the pram now, when the going gets tough, it’s just not going to be worth it.”
“We’re mature enough to know that we didn’t pick up three points against East Grinstead, but we’re probably going to play them again, at least once, where we know we can get our own back”
How would you say you have adapted to the squad, given that you are a first year?
“The boys have been super, I’ve even come into pre-season living in some of the seniors’ houses and it’s really fun off the pitch. It does just feel like it’s a bunch of lads playing hockey together, which is the best part about it. I think we when we play our way, we have a lot of fun on the pitch, which is what our coach JB [James Bateman], says pre-game.”
No matter who we’re playing […] we need to be doing the same thing on the pitch
“No matter who we’re playing, whether it’s Olympians or other universities, we need to be doing the same thing on the pitch and just enjoying it. At the end of the day, it is just 16 guys, who are friends playing a sport and that’s what it’s all about for us.”
James also warned against taking their previous results in the league at face value:
“I’d read further than the score lines because we’re not a team that can just be walked over.”
The Men’s 1s are back at home against Reading, with the game starting at 6.30pm on Saturday 7th October.
Sienna Dunn and Maddy Axford were on the scoresheet but the Ladies 1s lost 4-2 to East Grinstead.
After another defeat in London, to East Grinstead, what do you think the team needs to do in order to improve and grab that first win of the season?
“I think definitely keep our hopes up because we’ve been playing good hockey. We’ve just had a run of tough opposition, down in London but I think we’re doing the right things in building towards that win.”
“So I think we need to just keep playing the hockey that we are and believe because we can score goals and we have been doing so. We just need to keep scoring more.”
Would you say the BUCS league is a healthy distraction from the difficulties of the Premier Division, given that you are a student side up against experienced players majority of the time?
“It’s not necessarily a distraction but I think it definitely helps prepare us for Saturdays. The BUCS league is a tough one, with four of the universities in that league also playing in the Premier Division on Saturdays.”
They help you to develop quite a tough skin
“So we have good opposition in both and it definitely helps to have massive crowds, as they help you to develop quite a tough skin. It’s definitely good preparation for Saturdays and we absolutely love the BUCS matches.”
The BUCS game against Newcastle University was your fourth consecutive away match, how important will a return to home soil be against Reading in the Premier League?
“It will definitely be welcomed, I think we’ve been doing a lot of travelling, which gets quite tiring and hard to balance with uni work, but we’ve been doing okay in making sure we get everything done. With the away days, as much as they are tiring, it is always nice to be together as a team and play games on the bus and bond, which is good.”
Do you think you can use the momentum of the Newcastle win against Reading?
“Yeah, 100%. It’s good we had loads and loads of attacking play, so it’s really good to feel that positiveness and see things working out on the pitch.”
We’re doing some really nice team play and linking up well
“I think all three goals were deflections, so it shows that we’re doing some really nice team play and linking up well. We’ve really bonded as a team and we know how each other play, so I think that’s a real positive to take into the match [against Reading] and helps us feel ready and confident.”
What sort of game are you expecting against Reading?
“It’ll definitely be a tough opposition but I think one that we can compete with. We played them in the Beeston tournament, earlier in pre season and we’ll be looking to improve on that result, which I think we can do.”
The Ladies 1s will begin Saturday’s double header, against Reading, at 4.30pm on Saturday, back on home soil at Beeston Hockey Club.
Featured image courtesy of UoN Sport. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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