Clubhouse: The Inside Track

Holly Payne


Leicester are still in the hunt for a place at the Investec Women's League Finals weekend after a draw with rivals Holcombe at the weekend and Great Britain's Holly Payne is optimistic about their chances. Meanwhile, East Grinstead have booked their slot at the NOW: Pensions Men's League Finals weekend, but in characteristic style, Coach Karl Stagno will not accept resting on their laurels. Here are some of their thoughts:

Holly Payne, Leicester:

On their draw with Holcombe:
"It was a tough game. We played really well and started strongly. We were 2-0 up with a minute to go to half time so it was disappointing to let them back into the game. They’ve got some really good players so perhaps before the game we would have been happy with a draw, but on reflection it feels like a missed chance."

On the letting their opponents back into the game:
"
We’ve done well this season with getting ahead and holding onto the lead so obviously we're disappointed to have lost one this week.  It was down to a lack of concentration on our part. A minute to go to half time and we conceded from a crash ball and deflection which has happened a couple of times recently. We need to stay switched on at the back at all times to get the points."

On Leicester's playoff ambitions:
"We’re still hopeful and we still believe we can make that top four. It’s really tight and three points this weekend would’ve been really valuable and put us into fourth. We’ve made it hard for ourselves but if we win all our games we can still do it. It could come down to the last game of the season against Reading away, that could be a crucial game for us."

"It’s important for the club to get back amongst the top four teams but we’ve lost a lot of international players in recent times and we’re still rebuilding the squad a little bit. We’ve got a lot of young players coming through and we’ve done well to compete but we’d like to push on and get back to the top."

On Leicester's chances should they make playoffs:
"If we get there we have a chance just like anyone else. When we have a full squad we can compete with anyone. We need to get there first which is a big ask but if we do, we won’t be afraid of anyone."

On joining the Central Programme and her Great Britain debut:
"It was great to get my debut at international level. I was so nervous before the game but getting that first cap was a great honour and something I really enjoyed.
The workload has increased since joining the programme and I’m enjoying it and thriving on the opportunity. I’ve loved the extra training and I hope I can continue to improve and take those improvements back to Leicester to make a difference for them."

East Grinstead's Karl Stagno

Karl Stagno, East Grinstead:

On the win over Beeston: 
"We deserve a lot of credit for the performance today. It’s been a tough stage of the season for us with indoor and outdoor preparations overlapping, so it’s a very difficult time which has shown with the points we’ve dropped recently. First half we were second best in all areas, but second half we were excellent and could have won by more. We have some key players away and lost two more with injury. We played with effectively 13 today because of that and yet we kept a good tempo, pressed very hard, It shows the depth and the level of fitness of the group. There is work to be done, but overall, I'm very pleased."

On the race for first place: 
"We shouldn’t have dropped points when we have but these things happen. We knew Surbiton had a tough run of games so to be able to capitalise and get a win in such a big game as this was very important.
No team will stand up and say they just want to qualify for play offs. Every team wants to win everything they can and we are no different. You approach every game to win. We won’t look at who we might play in a playoff, we want to win every game and we want to beat whoever we play. If we finish top, that is great and of course we want to guarantee Europe but we have work to do with our goalscoring, and maybe with some other aspects but we want to win all of the time."

On his team's chances in the playoffs:
"All the teams can beat each other on their day. Wimbledon beat us 4-1 at our home, and they deserved to. Surbiton score a lot of goals, but can concede, too, Beeston are still the best team in the country alongside us, so if it is that four, there will be nothing taken for granted."

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.

Whether you're a player, a coach, an umpire or a fan, there's something for you in the Clubhouse!

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