Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals Preview 4: George Pinner

George Pinner in action for Beeston
In the fourth of our series of interviews with the key protagonists ahead of the Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals on Sunday, Beeston goalkeeper George Pinner explains the role of a goalkeeper indoors and unveils Beeston's secret weapon.

George Pinner in action for BeestonGone are the days of goalkeepers being the forgotten heroes on the hockey pitch. The athleticism, quickness of thought and agility that modern keepers possess has improved alongside the strength, power and pace of their outfield colleagues. Still, the indoor environment creates the perfect storm for goalkeepers to remind us just how influential they can be. Beeston’s England and GB international stopper George Pinner thrives on the increased contribution he makes in an indoor game as the end-to-end nature of play means ‘keepers are called on more frequently,

“You are like an extra defender at times, you play a lot higher in the circle, get a lot more involved. There’s a big difference in goal but it is one that I really enjoy the fact the you are more involved.

“Outdoors goalkeepers can win you a point, win you a game with some saves. Indoors there are a lot more saves to make, there’s a lot more to do. The importance of the goalkeeper is even greater than outdoors. If your goalkeeper has a really good game indoors then you have a really good chance of getting something out of the game.”

George Pinner celebrates after Beeston win the penalty shoot in the super sixes semi final against Reading at Wembley Arena

An element of the unpredictability might also go along way to help Beeston finish on the glory side of the results come Sunday evening,

“For us as a club we’re still on the up and a lot of these times are new experiences for us. I think it boils down to making us an exciting team to watch as opposed to some of the teams that have been there year in and year out; people have seen them before and know what to expect. With Beeston there’s that new factor where people don’t quite know what they are going to get”.

Pinner is one of the few who have been there before, experiencing defeat against East Grinstead in the 2011 final. Despite putting in a Man of the Match performance he was taken off in favour of an extra outfield player as the Nottinghamshire team gave everything they had in pursuit of victory. The elation, the noise and the unswerving support from spectators was a huge positive of the occasion and one which Pinner is hopeful he will relish in again this year.

“The crowd and everyone gets behind good hockey. There is a lot of cheering but also a lot of people tend to choose a team for the weekend and last year the atmosphere was electric.

“For me personally, I enjoy it. I enjoy the big crowds; it seems to get the best out of me historically so I hope that that will continue. I’m someone who likes the cheering, likes to hear people behind you, likes to look up and see people cheering you on. I’m not someone who gets phased by that really, I use it to spur me on and sometimes actually play up to it a bit”

Beeston goalkeeper George Pinner walks out between volunteers for the men's final at the super sixes Finals 2011 at Wembley Arena

Beeston’s players are taking the Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals seriously.  Even before the season began they identified this trophy as one they wanted to win. One player who could be crucial to the Bees getting the opportunity to do this is Patrick Schmidt. As a German, Schmidt is more than familiar with indoor hockey.  Germany’s emphasis on indoor hockey has shaped him into a dangerous proposition for any of the other three teams competing at Wembley. Pinner can see the value he brings to the Beeston line-up,

“The Germans and European guys play for a number of months which leads to a better standard of indoor because in the one sense as players are a lot more tactically astute, they develop a more indoor style of hockey.

“Paddy Schmidt is one of our key players. The number of years he’s been playing indoor hockey he has developed skills that are specific to the game”.

When summing up his side’s chances of glory in a maximum of six words, quick as a flash Pinner answers in two.

“Patrick Schmidt.”

Fortunately for the German, he isn’t expected to do it all by himself. Pinner adds the fast, counter-attacking hockey Beeston play will undoubtedly make them difficult to overcome. The rest of the team will be hoping their goalkeeper doesn’t need to have much say in the finals after all.

Words: Kerry Stewart


Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals logo

Tickets are still available for the fastest show in town, the Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals, at London’s Wembley Arena on Sunday giving hockey fans the chance to get right up close to the action.

See East Grinstead versus Reading and Bowdon versus Beeston in the men’s semi finals before Reading take on Leicester in the women’s final ahead of the men’s final. Doors open at 11:00am with East Grinstead v Reading starting at 12:00 noon.

As well as all of the action on the pitch, visitors to Wembley Arena will have the chance to meet the Great Britain men’s team, pose for photos with their heroes and test themselves in The Cage. Singer/songwriter Katy Shotter will perform and the new Great Britain replica hockey shirt will be on sale for the first time.

Tickets can still be bought online from ticketmaster.co.uk or by calling 0844 815 0815. Tickets start at just £5 for U18s and £12.50 for adults. Tickets purchased on the door on Sunday will cost £5 more.

Sky Sports 2 LogoFor those fans that can’t make it to Wembley, the great news is that three hours of live action from the Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals will be broadcast on Sky Sports 2 from 3-6pm on Sunday. England men’s indoor Head Coach Andy Halliday and Olton & West Warwicks’ England indoor captain Denise Marston-Smith will be the studio guests while Nick Irvine, three times Olympic goalkeeper Simon Mason and double Olympian Mel Clewlow will be in the commentary box.

BBC LogoAnd before all of that, you can see Great Britain’s women in Champions Trophy action live via the BBC Red Button and Eurosport. Starting with Saturday evening’s opening match against Japan, Eurosport logoGreat Britain’s pool matches against Japan, the Netherlands and China will be shown on the BBC Red Button and Eurosport 2, all getting underway at 6:00pm GMT. Some matches may not be available on Freeview Red Button while Eurosport's coverage of some matches may be delayed. Please refer to the schedule below for exact details.

EUROSPORT 2 SCHEDULE - FIH CHAMPIONS TROPHY, 28 JANUARY - 5 FEBRUARY

Saturday 28 January
Netherlands v China - Live at 3.30pm
GB v Japan - Delayed at 7:45pm

Sunday 29 January
China v Japan Live
GB v Netherlands - Delayed 10:00pm

Monday 30 January
GB v Netherlands - Delayed 1:00pm
Germany v Argentina - Delayed 2.00pm

Tuesday 31 Janaury
Netherland v Japan - Delayed 4.45pm

Wednesday 1 February
GB v China - Delayed 12:00pm

Thursday 2 February
Two matches - Live

Saturday 4 February
Semi Final 1 - Live at 8.30pm
Semi Final 2 - Live at 11.00pm

Sunday 5 February
3/4th place game - Live at 9.30pm
Final - Live at 11.00pm

BBC SCHEDULE - FIH CHAMPIONS TROPHY, 28 JANUARY - 5 FEBRUARY

Saturday 28 January
1800-2100 UK - Pool A - Great Britain v Japan – Live on DSat and cable, not live on Freeview but replayed at 2125-2325

Sunday 29 January
1800-2100 UK - Pool A - Great Britain v Netherlands – Live on DSat and cable, and live on Freeview until 2000

Tuesday 31 January
1800-2000 UK - Pool A - China v Great Britain – Live on DSat, cable, and Freeview

Thursday 2 February
4 games at 3.30pm, 6pm, 8.30pm and 11pm - Quarter Finals – Live on DSat and cable, not available on Freeview

Saturday 4 February
Semi finals at 8.30pm and 11pm - Live on DSat, cable, and Freeview

Sunday 5 February
Tbc - classification/medal matches - 7th v 8th 3.30pm, 5th v 6th 6pm, 3rd v 4th 8.30pm and final at 11pm – Live on DSat and cable, but only available on freeview for live final.