Premier Divisions: The Inside Track

Steph Elliott Holcombe Sept 2014
With the second round of games in both the NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division and the Investec Women's Premier Division taking place at the weekend there were plenty of big games, goals and lots of talking points throughout the league. We caught up with Holcombe's Steph Elliott and Hampstead and Westminster's Andy Hayward to find out their thoughts on the weekend's clashes. 
 
Steph Elliott, Holcombe on her side's clash with Canterbury:

"It was a strange game in many ways, it was very up and down. There were periods where we were really on top, but also times when we were in deep defence. It was heartbreaking at the end to give away a corner, then lose a defender and then concede an right on full time." 

On her side sending a message to the rest of the league:

"At the time it was wrenching watching it go in but if you take a step back and look at it objectively, we’ve just come up into the division and drawn 1-1 with the team who finished top last season. It sends a message that we’re in the Premier Division for real and we’re here to be as competitive as we can. I’m still proud of the girls. We worked really hard, defended brilliantly and we created some chances, too, we just couldn’t finish it off." 

On the media spotlight:

"We don’t think about all the press or attention on the club. We go out to play a game of hockey and we’re focused on that. We want to win and do well. We get so much support from the club which is great, we want to do well to repay that.

On the challenges ahead:

"We’ve got University of Birmingham next, who will be tough. We’ve made a statement by playing the way we have so far and we should get something out of this weekend and all the other games. If we can re-produce the performance from the Canterbury game, we’ll be OK. We just want to compete and see where that leaves us."

Andy Hayward, Hampstead and Westminster:

On the team's improving performances:

"We played better today than last week. We were a little bit lucky against Wimbledon, scoring two goals in the last couple of minutes to snatch that win but today I thought we combined a bit better and it’s nice to come away with a 5-1 win."

Andy Hayward scores for Hampstead and Westminster vs Canterbury Credit Mark Clews.

On his goalscoring exploits:

"From my perspective it’s nice to come away having scored some goals but I also feel like it is my job to do that. More importantly it was good to get a win, and a good win, too. It should give the team a lot of confidence ahead of next week and the upcoming challenges." 

On why he joined Hampstead and Westminster:

"I came here because I feel Hampstead and Westminster are a club on the rise. Richard Smith is injured at the moment but we hope to have him back soon. He was good at the start and told me about their ambitions to become one of the top teams in England. It’s exciting for me to be part of trying to bring a team from a low rank to the very top in all competitions. I’m still settling in, but they’re a good bunch of boys. It’s a nice change of environment for me, something I’ve never experienced before so it’s going to be a lot of fun."

Watch Andy Hayward's exclusive interview from the weekend by clicking the video below. 

 


Hayward and his Hampstead and Westminster team-mates hope to continue their promising start at home to Cannock this Saturday. For all the NOW: Pensions Men's League Fixtures click here

Holcombe go up against University of Birmingham who will be looking to bounce back after defeat to Surbiton last week. For all the Investec Women's League Fixtures, click here