Premier Divisions: The Inside Track.

Todd Williams gives his post match talk to his Surbiton team

In the Investec Women's Premier Division, Clifton are setting the early pace after they picked up their third win from three, whilst in the NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division Surbiton saw off Beeston to go top. Find out the thoughts of Surbiton's Coach Todd Williams and those of Clifton's two-goal star Joie Leigh. 

Todd Williams, Surbiton.

On the weekend's game against Beeston:

It was a tough game and the score flattered us. At 3-2 they pushed on for the equaliser which allowed us to get a fourth. Quite rightly they kept pushing and we were able to score two more that probably inflated the scoreline.

On the fine margins games are decided on:

At 2-2 and 3-2 they had two or three corners and chances that they will be disappointed they didn’t score. It sounds like a cliché but had they taken them it would’ve been a different game. I don’t for a second think this puts us in the driving seat. Just as we aren’t where we need to be yet, Beeston don’t have anything to panic about.

On his side's improving performances:

We’ve made a good start. We didn’t hit our straps in the first two games but ground out the wins. We played better against Beeston, which you tend to do in the bigger games. It’s early still and everyone’s finding their feet but I’m delighted with the players so far. We just need to keep improving.

On the summer signings:

I've been really pleased with those who joined us this summer. Lewis Prosser, David Beckett, Rupert Shipperley and Will Marshall have all been great on and off the field, exactly what we wanted. They’ve bought into the club but they are also fantastic hockey players. You have to have both aspects. We want good players to play for us and play good hockey and we’re getting there. Those new guys understand that and are already contributing.

On his side's room for improvement:

We’re nowhere near the standards we want to be at but we’re pleased with the start we’ve made. Beeston had good patches and we did well to stay in it, we need to be better in those situations, though. We’ve been level or down late on in the other two games, so we know we have work to do. We have an idea of where we are and so next week will be a good test. Last time we played East Grinstead they put six on us, so we know it’s going to be a big challenge. We’re looking forward to it.

Joie Leigh, Clifton.

On Clifton’s performance at the weekend:

“We knew it was going to be a tough game against Leicester, but we were also optimistic as we know what we are capable of as a team. It was disappointing to be 1-0 down going into the break but we regrouped at half time and just went back out and focussed on doing the basic things well. It was a good recipe for the second half as we scored three goals without reply. It was great to secure the win in that fashion because we’ve been working hard on our fitness and pushing on in the later stages of a game and that’s exactly what we did against a decent Leicester side.”

On scoring twice:
“It was a good team performance and I was just pleased to play my part in helping the team get the reward I think we deserved. My second goal came from some really good build up play; as the ball came to me I was able to cut inside the D and hit it hard at goal and it was great to see it go in.”

Leigh is now in her fourth season at Clifton so we asked her what she thinks has been the key ingredient to the team establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with in the Investec Women’s Premier Division:

Steve [Rixon] started coaching us three seasons ago now and we’ve come a long way in that time. There’s a great team spirit and unity across the whole squad and I think that’s helped to maintain consistency in the way we play our hockey. Another area we work really hard on is our fitness and I think that’s shown in the first three games of the season as we’ve managed to seal the victories and close out games.”

On facing Canterbury this weekend:

“They’ve managed to get the better of us in recent encounters so we know we have a point to prove going into the game. Having said that, if we continue to play the way we have started this season we’ll be a tough team to beat no matter who the opponent is.”

On who Canterbury’s key players will be:

“Mel Clewlow at the back controls the defence so well across the 70 minutes and her distribution skills are brilliant. Sarah Kerly is back with the team this year and looks to be scoring plenty of goals so we will certainly need to watch out for her."

Leigh and her team go up against Canterbury this weekend in a repeat of last season's Investec Women's Championship Play-Off semi-final. You can see all of this week's fixtures in the Investec Women's Hockey League here

The big games come thick and fast for Williams and his Surbiton charges. After overcoming Beeston last week they now travel to East Grinstead for another top of the table clash. For all the NOW: Pensions Men's League fixtures click here.