CLUBHOUSE: Players to watch in the NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division

Will Naylor celebrates his winner vs Wimbledon NPMPD Sept 2014

With goals galore and late drama aplenty in the NOW: Pensions Men’s League last weekend, the domestic season was back with a bang. Week two of the season serves up some massive encounters between the top sides in the country. Hampstead and Westminster play host to Canterbury whilst Wimbledon go up against Beeston.  Here are four players who we think you should keep an eye on. 

Will Naylor, Hampstead and Westminster. 

Naylor was the man in the right place at the right time last weekend as he applied a cool finish with just two minutes remaining to hand his side a dramatic 2-1 win over Wimbledon. The goal was his 50th in the top flight. Hampstead have struggled to find the target in recent seasons, and Naylor has carried much of the burden himself.  He had a stellar season in 2012/13 where he netted 11 of his team’s 30 league goals and has started this campaign with a bang. Richard Smith, his club teammate, described him as “one of the most intelligent forwards in the league”. They will be hoping his intelligence can come up with another match winner this weekend. 

Kwan Browne, Canterbury. 

It wasn’t the result Canterbury’s Player-Coach was looking for as his side were steam-rolled by Beeston last weekend but you can rest assured Browne will have them ready for this game. One of the most astute and thorough coaches and tacticians in the league with the competitive fire and ability to implement his ideas on the pitch himself, the experienced Trinidadian will be central to getting his team back on track after their false start last week.

James Bailey, Wimbledon. 

This is a big season for Wimbledon and a big season for Bailey, too. He has left Reading behind for a new challenge of breaking into the top four, and is aiming to usurp George Pinner from the No1 slot at international level. The 23-year-old has a great chance to show everyone what he can do this campaign. What better challenge for a goalkeeper than an early season meeting with the reigning champions who rattled in six goals last weekend? Beeston have a lot of firepower and plenty of options on penalty corners. Wimbledon were the first side to beat the Bees last season and Bailey’s ability to keep them at bay this weekend will be central to repeating that trick. 

Sam Ward, Beeston. 

The goalscoring philanthropist is off the mark already for the new campaign. He notched a penalty corner to put his side 2-1 up at the break last weekend against Canterbury and he will be aiming to add more to his tally when his team visit Wimbledon. Ward is a natural goalscorer, as evidenced by his 21 NOW: Pensions Premier Division strikes last season. Adept at netting from penalty corners, not afraid to dive in where it hurts and always the first to react in and around the D, the No15 will be a real danger to Wimbledon come Sunday. 

All the weekend's NOW: Pensions Men's Hockey League Fixtures are here

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