CLUBHOUSE: The Inside Track

Andy Watts Reading

Seven games into the domestic league season and the tables are starting to take shape. Leicester kept themselves in touch with the teams about them with an excellent 3-0 win over old foes Reading whilst in the NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division, Reading continued their good run with a hard-earned win over Hampstead and Westminster. Both coaches, Leicester's David Mayer and Reading's Andy Watts gave us their thoughts.

Andy Watts, Reading.
On the win over Hampstead and Westminster: 
"The performance was encouraging. The biggest thing for us was to improve on how we’ve played previously. We weren’t at our best last week against Beeston so to show some improvements and to pick up three points is extremely pleasing."

On Reading's start to the season:
"It’s a new group this season and with injuries as well we’ve lacked a little bit of continuity. We’ve lost to Beeston, East Grinstead and Surbiton but taken points off the teams around and below us. It’s been frustrating at times due to the transitional nature of our start but despite taking some time for us to bed in I’m really pleased to see the direction we’re heading."

On making the change from player to coach:
I’m keen to give my all to coaching and that’s the fairest thing for everyone. The club and my players have been really supportive. I have some experienced players to call upon but also an exciting group of up and coming talents. I’ve really enjoyed the switch to coaching so far."

On the development of Reading's young guns:
We’ve had a number of U18s step up, Will Carter-Keal and Jack Whelan in particular have done well. We want to promote youth from within the club to take us forwards. Obviously you need a balance but these players are the ones we need to invest the time in now to ensure we are in good hands for the future.
To start with, some of the young players were a little star struck with some of the senior personnel we have. The older players have been fantastic at welcoming them and passing on their knowledge and experience and the young players are growing in confidence on and off the field with every week."

On Reading's aims for the season:
"In each of the games we have lost we were competitive. Although we don’t have the depth we had in previous years, I really feel we have the capability to pick up the points and get into the playoffs. The top three have pulled away a little but beating Wimbledon and Hampstead, who are part of the group battling for 4th, could prove to be very important results for us."

David Mayer of Leicester asks the questions

David Mayer, Leicester Coach.

On the weekend's performance:
"We’ve had a challenge this year with a large turnaround in personnel but we’ve played very well recently. The last two weekends we could have got a bit more out of the game but we felt like we were really gelling as a team and getting close to how we want to play as a unit. We played well this weekend. They were missing a few players but we played what was in front of us well and we were really pleased to get the win."

On the rivalry with Reading:
"You don’t lose the rivalry. Things change and the personnel changes but it was still Reading vs. Leicester and there’s still that intensity that you'd expect. It’s one of the games you look out for when the fixtures come out and it still has a real draw to it. Once the game starts you have to put that to one side but it’s nice to have games like this."

On Leicester's new signings:
"I’m really pleased with the players we picked up and I know with this group we can do well. Experience tells me it can take time for everyone to gel but I know we have the talent to achieve what we want to. I’m pleased with them not just as hockey players but they way they’ve come into the group in general, how they conduct themselves and what they bring to us as a club. If we achieve something this year it’ll be great but we can also look to next year, too."

On his side's aims for the season:
"We want to stay up first and foremost as everyone does. By Christmas we’d like to be safe and looking upwards. If we play as well as we can we can get to playoffs but we want to keep progressing and do well next year.
We won the league the year before last and we won a European Gold last year so we’ve not fallen too far off the pedestal. We have to work hard to make sure we keep improving and see where that leaves us at the end of the season."

On the teams to look out for: 
"The general standard of the league is really high this year. We haven’t come across any weaknesses so far. Obviously you look at teams like Surbiton with their depth and Canterbury were one of the toughest sides we faced last year so you can’t look beyond them. We just want to focus on ourselves and what we’re doing, most importantly."

With a break in the league calendar scheduled for this week there is only East Grinstead's re-arranged game with Southgate this coming weekend. For all the Investec Women's League fixtures click here. For all the games in the NOW: Pensions Men's League Division click here.