Clubhouse: The Inside Track

Buckingham celebrate Chloe Hobson's goal. Credit Chris Hobson

Buckingham have endured a tough start to life in the top flight but picked up a splendid 4-1 win over high flying Holcombe. In the NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division, Reading are back in form after that defeat to Brooklands MU. Find out what Zak Jones and Tom Carson had to say about the season so far. 

Zak Jones, Buckingham Coach:

On the win over Holcombe:
"I’m really delighted with the performance. We’ve played pretty well up to now and quite a few times this season we could have got more out of games. The team have shown great resilience and never been negative. We knew it’d be a bit of a process this season and it’s probably taken a bit longer than we’d hoped but it’s pleasing to get such a big performance away from home without our captain. The other girls really stepped up and we got our rewards."

On the step up from the Conference to the Premier Division:
"We always knew we could compete at this level, we’ve always done well against the top sides in pre-season and cup games so we know what to expect from these teams. You don’t get as many chances at this level and if you don’t take them you get punished. The sides who've been here a while know how to win these games so it’s been a steep learning curve for the girls but we’re not getting beaten heavily by anyone and maybe with a bit more edge we can start to pick up more points."

On his side's aims for the season:
"We thought if things went well we could be in the group in mid-table fighting it out, possibly even aiming for playoffs. On the other hand we knew if it didn’t go to plan we could end up exactly where we are. If we’d had a bit of luck and been a bit more clinical we could have been having a very different season. Sport is like that, though and we are very realistic, so we know how hard we have to work, but the result at the weekend should give us a lot of confidence."

On the upcoming challenges:
"We need to pick up points from the sides around us, but to be honest the only side who really outplayed us were Surbiton. We’ve been very close in plenty of games so there’s no reason why we can’t pick up the points we need. We just need to make the most of the small margins. We’ve started a lot of games well but not scored and that’s allowed the opposition back in, whereas this week we scored first and that gave us a lot of confidence to keep going."

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Tom Carson, Reading:

On the win at the weekend:
"We’ve had a tough few weeks with the Brooklands result and then going a goal up against Cannock before the game was abandoned so it’s good to get back to winning and get points on the board. Against a side like Beeston, the reigning champions it’s always nice to get one over them even though it’s a really tough game."

On the 5-4 defeat to Brooklands MU:
"I think you have to move on from games like Brooklands. We understand where our mistakes came from but we took the positives from it. We scored four goals in 15 minutes playing as we wanted to play. Don’t forget their goalkeeper played very well towards the end and we were unlucky not to get something. I’ve never seen a game like that so it was a shock from our perspective but you have to move on."

On Reading's young guns:
"We’ve got some really talented young players who haven’t played at this level before. Some games they aren’t as effective as they can be due to experience. Their ability is up there with anyone playing in the division but it’s just about getting them match time so they can influence games. They showed it this weekend with two of them getting important goals for us which proves they are adapting to this level.
Since Simon Mantell’s been out I've been the senior player up front. I’ve really enjoyed it, taking on a bit more responsibility. These players have got bags of ability and they know how to play hockey. They score goals and create chance and it’s exciting to watch and play a part in."

On Reading's season aims:
"If you look at the results we’ve beaten Beeston and Wimbledon but dropped points in games we shouldn’t have. The league is quite open this year. Although East Grinstead look strong, teams are dropping points which means if we perform well in the second half we have a great chance of getting into the top four."

On the weekend's clash with Surbiton:
"The points from the game against Surbiton are important but they’re not the be all and end all. They have a strong side and good coach but if we play well and get the points it lays down a nice marker. We have a long way to go and there is plenty that can happen between now and the end of the season."

Buckingham will travel to Leicester this week hoping to pick up another win. For all the fixtures in the Investec Women's Hockey League click here.

Reading play host to second-placed Surbiton this weekend. For all the games in the NOW: Pensions Men's Hockey League, click here

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