Premier Divisions: The Inside Track

Paddy Smith for EG Oct 2014

Week four of the NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division saw East Grinstead preserve their 100% record with an excellent 4-0 win over rivals Surbiton to move to the top of the league. In the Investec Women's Premier Division, Surbiton, the reigning champions also took top spot with a 3-1 win over Leicester. Find out what England and Surbiton star Georgie Twigg and East Grinstead and England goalkeeper Paddy Smith make of it all.

Georgie Twigg, Surbiton.

On her team's start to the season:
"It’s been a really good start. It’s difficult being last year’s champions coming into a new season because everyone expects a test against us whereas before they might not have done. The first game against Reading was tough because they defended very well and we couldn’t break them down. We’ve got a really exciting team with some fast forwards. We’re really solid defensively which means that going forwards we have the confidence in our back line to use the speed and get forwards. I think we’ll score a lot of goals this season."

On the win over Leicester:
"Leicester are a difficult side to play against. They’re tougher physically than a lot of sides and previously we’ve been a bit immature and inexperienced in these games. We stepped up this time. We knew it would be tough but we managed to fight it out and although the goals came quite late on it’s a testament to how far we’ve come and that we’re able to get over the line like that."

On the spirit in the group:
"We have a lot of belief compared with previous years. We have a lot of penalty corner threats with Giselle Ansley and Chloe Strong we have such different types of attacking players and selection is so difficult because we have so many good players. It’s a great problem to have. We know goals will come with the ability we have in the group, it’s really exciting."

On coach Brett Garrard:
"Brett is brilliant. He knows his stuff and is so tactically aware. We prepare really well for every game and every different side. We do a lot video analysis and we’ve been working a lot on goalscoring in training. We’ve also played against a lot of men’s sides which helps us a lot in terms of getting us ready for different challenges. He has a great mix of knowledge and is excellent with the team."

On the strength of the league:
"After the first game we were worried teams would all set up to stifle us but our games have been really good this season. It's been great for the league that games are close. We know we have to go out and score goals as champions but it’s a lot of fun trying to do that."

Paddy Smith, East Grinstead:

On the challenge of Surbiton:
"We knew they would be relentless in their press and intensity and they came at us really hard. They won the ball high up the pitch but thankfully we kept them at bay and Ashley Jackson got us a goal to kill their momentum. It was a close game; they had some chances and some corners which they might feel they could have scored. We counterattacked well and at pace which seemed to work well and gave us the chances to score."

On keeping a clean sheet:
"It’s nice to get a clean sheet and Surbiton have a lot of great attackers, they put six past Beeston last week so to win 4-0 is a real testament to how we defended as a team and it was really pleasing. It's not just about how I played, the whole team contributed, but as a goalkeeper I'm obviously delighted we didn't concede. Hopefully we can take that form into the other league games but there are no easy matches. We’ve played some tough sides already and there are plenty more to come."

On team mate Ashley Jackson:
"He’s fantastic. He didn’t think he played that well but he still scored a hat-trick. His corners are world class and you never know what to expect. He knows where people are on the pitch and where they move to and seems to be able to find them all over the pitch.
He doesn’t get enough credit for his defensive work, though. He wins the ball in one on one situations so often. I know if I can do my job in goal and keep the ball out, with him in the side we think he’ll score at least one and we’ll always have chance of outscoring teams."

On joining East Grinstead:
"I’ve really enjoyed it here so far. I knew a lot of the team already but there’s a really nice atmosphere about the club. The management are so professional and it’s a great place to be. Everyone expects us to perform but I’m enjoying the pressure it brings. Karl Stagno is an intelligent and really thorough coach. He knows the game inside out and knows the threats of every team, what we need to work on and how we’re going to win. He is great to work with and I’m sure i'll learn a lot. 

East Grinstead now take a break from their domestic duties to compete in the Euro Hockey League. You can find details here

For all the fixtures in the NOW: Pensions Men's League click here

Surbiton go up against Clifton this week in a top-of-the-table clash. Find out all the fixtures here.