Clubhouse: The Inside Track

David Beckett shoots for goal against Southgate

Surbiton went to the top of the NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division with a 5-0 win over Cannock this past weekend. In the Investec Women's Premier Division, Holcombe's win over Beeston moved them to the head of the queue of clubs battling for the last playoff spot. We spoke to Great Britain duo David Beckett and Maddie Hinch to find out about their teams' season so far.

David Beckett, Surbiton:
On the season so far:

"Our aim at the start of the year was to push for those top four places and hopefully to win the league. It was a real target for us and it’s nice to be there at the moment. The last five games are going to be hard. We need to keep going and fight to hang on to top spot."

On playing against his former club:
"It was strange. It was the first time I’ve played them since I left. I had to do a double take and make sure I was passing to the right team! It was nice to see some old friends I haven’t seen for a while and to catch up after, but it was a very strange experience. They’ve got a different coach so a few things have changed from when I was there last year, so I didn’t have any inside information, we just looked at us and how we wanted to perform."

On his return from injury:
"I've been out for three and half months injured. It's been frustrating because I didn't get a chance to get going this season.. It’s great to get back on the pitch and to be able to compete again. I just want to contribute to Surbiton and making sure the team reaches our targets for the season."

On potential European qualification:
"The main thing is to top the league and get that European place. We want to be the No1 side in the playoffs but also the guys last year were bitterly disappointed having qualified for Europe only for England to lose a place. There is definitely an emphasis on making sure we get that first spot and then we want to win the playoffs, that’s the big one."

On who will make it to the league finals:
"It’s really close between the top four but you can’t rule out Reading either. Wimbledon are closing in on us from fourth so it could be interesting who finishes where. All it takes is a good run from someone which could change everything."

On Surbiton's chances of winning the whole thing:
"You have to be confident. We had a lot new players at the start of the season but we’ve gelled well as the campaign’s gone on. We want to qualify first and then obviously we’d back ourselves to win it as I’m sure all the other teams back themselves, too."

Maddie Hinch takes a drink

Maddie Hinch, Holcombe:

On Holcombe's performance this weekend:
"It was a much improved display. We’ve been a bit ropey of late and we were on a run of four consecutive losses going into that game so it was important for us to get points on the board.
We decided to take the tactics out of it a little and go with a “just play” mentality. We just wanted to get people on the ball and enjoy ourselves. We managed to take some of our chances which helped. Beeston gave us a good game, but we were pleased to get the win and we now have some big games coming up."

On the balance between club and international hockey:
"Some of the girls didn’t have as much running in the legs this weekend having played the tests against Spain last week, but that's no excuse. We’re a big club in terms of numbers and depth and we’re international players so that’s something you learn to cope with. We have the players who can step in and that was no different this week."

On their recent losing run:
"Before Christmas we had some losses and we went to Bowdon Hightown last week with high hopes despite that. It’s a difficult place to go, they are fighting for every point and they have some exceptional forwards. We had enough chances to win that game too, but they took their chances and we didn’t and that’s how it happens sometimes."

On the team's ambitions for the season:
"We didn’t really talk about playoffs to start off with. We wanted to see how we stacked up first. We had a decent start which made us think a little about it but you have a dip in form every year, which we have. We want to be up there competing and you never know what can happen in the final games.

We have to remember that we were only promoted last year. People expect us, with the players we have to be up there but we have to play as a team and learn as a group. For now we need to take each game as it comes and if we get fourth spot it’s a bonus but it’s not at the forefront of our minds."

On the pressure on the squad:
You hear a lot of people talk about the squad we have and that can put pressure on your shoulders but we’re used to it now. We have realised it takes time to gel as a team and adjust to this level. Look at Surbiton. They took some time adjust but they are one of the top teams now, we hope to get there one day but it might take us some time."

Don't forget you can buy tickets to the NOW: Pensions Men's League Finals Weekend and to the Investec Women's League Finals Weekend now. Make sure you take advantage of our club cash-back offer and earn money for your club just for watching hockey!  

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The stories that emerge from different clubs across hockey are part of what makes our sport unique and what gives it a great character. As part of our ongoing mission to bring you the latest goings on in the club world we have launched Clubhouse: Your home of club news and insight.

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