Clubhouse: The Inside Track

Steve Rixon Clifton Coach 2

Clifton kept in touch with leaders Surbiton and in doing so, became the first side to inflict defeat on Holcombe this season. East Grinstead have returned to winning ways after a defeat against Wimbledon two weeks ago. Find out what Clifton coach Steve Rixon and East Grinstead and England star David Condon had to say about their teams' fortunes.  

Steve Rixon, Clifton coach:

On his team’s performance:
That was our best 70 minutes this season. We’ve played well in spells in most of the games this season but perhaps haven’t taken our chances or put things together for a whole game but Sunday was definitely the closest we’ve come. We knew they had some good players but as a unit it was hard to know what to expect from Holcombe. We had a plan on how we wanted to play and we were able to execute that. We pressed well and our outletting was varied and dynamic and we gave ourselves a good platform to build on. It was never comfortable as they are a good side but I was very pleased with how we performed."

On Clifton’s keys to success:
“We’ve set some ambitious targets in terms of points tally and goal difference. We’ve made some minor tweaks this season but largely we are doing quite well because we are a settled group. The girls have a good level of understanding in terms of how we want to play and the team are very fit so with both senior and junior players contributing that makes us very hard to beat. We recognise defence is a key area. We aren’t a defensive team but we know it is important to ensure you don’t concede too many goals. It’s an important base for our game plans each week.”

On Joie Leigh’s great form:
"I’ve known Joie a very long time and she is an amazing talent. She’s really getting into her stride and playing with a smile and spring in her step. She’s learned to deal well with pressure and her attitude and ability have meant she is playing some of her best hockey.

On targets for the season:
"We want to make the playoffs, that’s our first target. There is lots of work to be done but if we can match our efforts in the first half of the season in the 2nd we should be ok. We’ve only lost to Surbiton and it was a close game but the league overall is very open this year. Holcombe are obviously a good side, University of Birmingham are getting stronger every year and of course you can’t count the big teams like Reading and Leicester out. A run of wins or losses can see you drop off the pace or be right in contention, it’s really close. Every side is strong and deserves respect, obviously Surbiton stand out but although it’s a cliché there are no easy games.

David Condon in action for England

David Condon, East Grinstead:

On his team's season so far:
After we lost to Wimbledon we sat down as a group and decided what we wanted to achieve and how to do it. We were scoring a lot of goals but letting a lot in and that was papering over the cracks a little because we weren’t playing to the standards we’ve previously set. We needed to make sure we reached those in the Beeston game and again this week, which we did.
We worked on little bits here and there and made sure we focused more on our defensive duties and hopefully it’s paying off."

On the pressure at Saint Hill:
There’s an expectation amongst the group as to how hard we should be working. We want to control and dominate games and create chances through pressure. We want to score lots of goals but the pressure comes from us not outside."

On being top of the league:
"All things said, we’re very pleased to be top. We know we have tough games coming up and we need to prove a point and show that defeat was a blip not the norm. We finished top last year and we want to do that again this year. Once you get to playoffs you have to see what happens.

There are some strong teams in the league. Beeston are very good and have a lot of depth, Wimbledon are great on their day but they need the consistency, and of course Surbiton are strong too."

East Grinstead face off against Wimbledon this weekend, for all the NOW: Pensions Men's League fixtures click here.

Clifton play host to Bowdon Hightown this coming weekend. For all the Investec Women's League matches click here.  

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