Premier Divisions: The Inside Track.

Beeston's Sam Ward celebrates scoring against Canterbury 2014

After a defeat last time out, Beeston bounced back with a bang, sweeping aside Brooklands MU with a convincing 7-1 win in the NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division. In the Investec Women's Premier Division, Canterbury's win over Buckingham set them up nicely for a top of the table clash with Surbiton this coming week. We got the thoughts of two-goal hero Sam Ward and Canterbury skipper Grace Balsdon.

Sam Ward, Beeston:

On the importance of the win on Saturday:
“It was massive for us to get a win this week, more than anything because it’s picked us up after a couple of bad weeks and results that maybe didn’t reflect how we’ve played. It was nice for it to all come together and for us to perform how we can. “

On the difference between the sides:
“The margin of victory surprised us. They’re a tough side who work hard and fight for everything, but we managed to be very effective in taking our chances early on which allowed us to put the game to bed. We scored something like four goals in ten minutes which put them out of contention. If you let them get into the game their physicality starts to tell and they are very hard to beat. It becomes a bit of a battle and we didn’t want that. We wanted to get ahead and not allow them to play their game.”

On Beeston’s season so far:
“We haven’t been clinical enough. Personally I haven’t taken as many corners as I could have. This week we made the most of our opportunities in the D and it came off nicely. We need to maintain those levels, though.”

On this week’s opponents, Reading:
“They will be very tough. They were a bit short of numbers this week but were 2-0 up against Wimbledon before the game got abandoned. We know they will be a very hard game for us. Cannock away the next game will be very tough, too. Realistically I’d back us to win both games but we have to put a lot of hard work in and get some consistency.”

On his side’s aims for the season:
“I hope we can go on and win the league again. We need to make sure we put the pieces together now so that we can perform at our maximum when it matters, at the tail end the season and of course the EHL. We want to be in the big games and we need to make sure that’s the case.”

Grace Balsdon marshalls the Canterbury defence 
Grace Balsdon, Canterbury:

On the win over Buckingham:
“It was a really positive result. We had a lot of possession and we tried a new press which gave us a lot of success. We have very quick players in midfield so winning the ball higher up the pitch and breaking forwards in numbers at pace gave us a lot of positives from our attacking play.”

On the foundations of their success:
“Last year we kept 10 clean sheets in the league. That strength starts from our goalkeeper and goes right through the team. We have that belief and trust in her and the rest of the team are able to build on that and remain confident that things are solid at the back.”

On Canterbury’s summer signings:
Susannah Townsend adds a lot pace to the midfield and Dirkie Chamberlain always makes something happen when she has the ball. Having them join has given us something extra in midfield and attack. We’re a different team from last year and we’re in a good position with the players we have.”

On this weekend’s clash with Surbiton:
“Surbiton are always tough. They are a really good side. We always compete with them. So we’ll go and hope to play to our strengths and keep building. We want to push them hard and hopefully come out with the result.”

On revenge for last year’s final defeat:
"We’d love to win the game, regardless of results last year. It’s always tight against them but we’re not worried about what’s gone before, we want to win this game.”

On the threats of both sides:
“They have a lot of quality. Becky Herbert is in great form and a huge threat with her pace and quick hands. Sarah Page is a great player and of course there’s Sarah Haycroft, Georgie Twigg, when you list them you realise they are a really strong outfit. We want to minimise their threat and see where we end up.
We have Dirkie and Sarah Kerly forming a good partnership and making things happen in the final third, Susannah Townsend is always a threat both sides have great players. It’ll be all about who takes their chances and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of them.”

Canterbury will travel to Sugden Road for their top of the table match with Surbiton. For all the Investec Women's League fixtures click here.

Beeston travel to Reading this coming weekend for what promises to be a hard-fought contest. For all the NOW: Pensions Men's League fixtures click here.