East Grinstead's Pearn and Hall Speak to Euro Hockey League

Alongside Germany international Martin Hšner, former Great Britain stars Mark Pearn and Danny Hall were magnificent performers for East Grinstead at Round 1b of the Euro Hockey League in Lille.

Midfielder Pearn, 32, is East Grinsteadís player coach and seems to have found the magic formula for success both in Europe and at home.  34-year-old striker Danny Hall is showing no sign of losing his desire to score goals, finding the net in each of Grinstead`s Round 1b matches including a brilliant individual effort against Waterloo Ducks. 

Recently, Mark and Danny spoke to the Euro Hockey League website about chasing the Slazenger EHL title, KO16 Hamburg and their plans for next season.

EURO HOCKEY LEAGUE: Danny & Mark, thank you for talking to Euro Hockey League!  Have you enjoyed your Euro Hockey League experience so far?
DANNY HALL: "Itís been amazing.  I knew it was going to be a well run event, but I was really impressed with how professional it was.  I think the whole set up, new rules etc. make it an exciting event for both players and spectators.  Also the fact that it is on TV is a major plus for hockey in the UK."
MARK PEARN: "I loved the experience of playing in the Euro Hockey League in Lille, as it was as close to the feel and intensity of international hockey as you can get playing for your club.  You can sense the excitement of the new competition in all the players, officials and supporters, with its new rules and first class television coverage.  It is also great to see a wider range of European clubs having the opportunity to compete against each other at this level."

Euro Hockey League: You are currently in with a great chance of winning the Slazenger England Hockey League.  Although you have both had success with your previous clubs, what would it mean to each of you to do this with East Grinstead?
MARK: "Everything!  Winning the European Cup with Reading in 2003 is the highlight of my club career so far, but I feel so involved with this team as the player-coach that it would give me just as much satisfaction to win a league title for the first time in East Grinstead`s history.  It would also be great reward for the many club members who have, over the years, put in a lot of hard work to get E.G. back into the Premier league and European competition again."
DANNY: "Although I had some success at my former club Guildford, Iíve personally never won the league title, so obviously it would be the highlight of my club career!  The club has an awesome set of volunteers that work behind the scenes and it would also be great to win it for them - they deserve it."

Euro Hockey League: Mark, you are clearly enjoying the role of player coach at E.G.  How much does it help having experienced campaigners like Danny and Scott Ashdown in the squad?  Also, will Jon Copp (Pearn`s old coach from his European Cup winning days with Reading) be travelling with the squad to Hamburg for KO16 as he did for Round 1a?
MARK: "Obviously coaching whilst playing can be tricky at times as there is usually a lot going on in a match that I need to be aware of.   However, having a number of experienced players in the team who I trust and respect, like Danny and Scott, allows me to get other ideas and view points on training, matches and opponents.  Yes, Jon Copp will be with us in Hamburg for the KO16, which is a great boost for the squad as he brings with him the experience of how to be successful in Europe and it also allows me to focus a little more on actually playing!"

Euro Hockey League: Danny - you and Mark have been friends for many years.  What is it like to have him as your coach?
DANNY: "There were two reasons I joined East Grinstead. The first was to challenge for the title, the second was to come and play for Pearny.  We were GB teammates and roommates and Iíd wanted to play club hockey with him for years.  Itís great to have my best mate as the coach, and he has a great relaxed yet focussed approach to coaching.   He also uses the experience of the older guys for a sounding board which makes us feel we all have a part to play."

Euro Hockey League: Despite being in your thirties now, you are both in brilliant form and greatly impressed the onlookers in Round 1b.  Do you both plan to continue playing for Grinstead next season?
MARK: "I have really enjoyed my hockey this year and definitely want to continue playing for E.G. next season and working with the talented group of players that we have in the squad."
DANNY: "I will definitely be playing for E.G. next season - hopefully in the Euro Hockey League for a second year running and also as defending champions of the English league!"

[Since the interview took place East Grinsteadís participation as one of the Englandís three representatives in next seasonís Euro Hockey League has been secured].

Euro Hockey League: Mark, what do you make of St Germain, your opponents in Round 2?
MARK: "Clearly any team that makes it through to the KO16 is going to be a very good side and St Germain will be tough opponents for us.  They contain a number of internationals and having qualified for the knockout rounds last season they will have good memories and experience of the Euro Hockey League."

Euro Hockey League: Should you defeat St Germain, your next opponents will be either the star-studded Bloemendaal or fellow English side Cannock.  Do you have any thoughts about that, or are you trying to take it one step at a time?
MARK: "Our main focus has to be on the match against St Germain, but it would be remiss of us to not keep one eye on how both Cannock and Bloemendaal are performing."
DANNY: "Obviously Bloemendaal are one of the best sides in the competition and Cannock on their day are pretty formidable too!  However, if we don`t beat St Germain we wonít get to play either of them, so itís all about focussing on our first game."

This interview was conducted by Richard Stainthorpe for Euro Hockey League.  Keep up to date with all the latest news from Europe's premier men's club competition at the Euro Hockey League website, www.ehlhockey.tv

SOURCE: Euro Hockey League