East Grinstead National Indoor Champions 2010

Men's National Indoor Hockey Championships Final

East Grinstead 9 (4)
Ashley Jackson 7,2,36,37 (PC,F,F,PC)
Mark Pearn 8 (F)
David de Prez 12 (F)
Scott Ashdown 34,35 (PC,F)
Mike Holland 37 (F)
Surbiton 5 (1)
Tim Pinnock 14,34,39 (PC,F,PC)
James Tindall 26 (F)
Michael Hoolihan 40 (F)

East Grinstead secured back to back National Indoor titles thanks to a thrilling 9-5 victory over Surbiton at the Trent FM Arena in Nottingham on Sunday evening.  England and Great Britain star Ashley Jackson was once again the hero with four goals in the final against Indoor England Hockey League Premier Division newcomers Surbiton.

The victory means East Grinstead will be England’s representatives in the 2011 European indoor competition.

Despite their underdog status Surbiton were first to threaten, firing a dangerous ball across the East Grinstead circle inside three minutes. 

It did not take long though for East Grinstead to assert their authority on the match with a brace of penalty corners, the second of which FIH World Young Player of the Year Ashley Jackson rifled into the right side of the net at blistering pace.  1-0 East Grinstead after seven minutes.

James Tindall, returning to fitness from the broken foot he sustained while on England duty at the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy in December, nearly equalised a minute later but a combination of a deflection from East Grinstead goalkeeper Richard Potton and the crossbar kept East Grinstead ahead.

Mark Pearn doubled EG’s lead in the eighth minute and shortly after, Surbiton’s England and Great Britain defender Richard Alexander had to be at his best to bring his international teammate Jackson to a halt at the top of the circle. 

East Grinstead by now were looking good for their lead and when German Mats Grambusch broke down the left hand side there was a chance for captain Scott Ashdown to make it three.  Although he was crowded out he managed to win a penalty corner, which ultimately came to nothing. 

David de Prez put East Grinstead 3-0 up after displaying excellent individual skill at the top of the circle before flicking the ball into the goal. 

Surbiton hit back in the 14th minute through Tim Pinnock whose powerful penalty corner flick flew inside the left post and so began a spell of Surbiton pressure with Richard Potton in the East Grinstead goal saving from close range as Surbiton pressed.

With a minute of the half remaining Ben Hawes missed a prime opportunity to make it 3-2 when he fired wide from inside the left of the circle and Surbiton were made to pay less than 60 seconds later.  Ashley Jackson displayed his trademark close control to outfox the Surbiton defence at the top of the circle before knocking the ball home to make it 4-1 at the break.

The game seemed to slow slightly at the beginning of the second period but East Grinstead began the stronger as they looked to build their advantage.  Some last ditch defending led to an East Grinstead penalty corner but the set piece was deflected high over the bar.

Surbiton rallied and pulled a goal back in the 26th minute through James Tindall, although Potton will have been disappointed that ball appeared to squirm through him and over the line to make the score 4-2.

With the match still delicately poised a time out was called following the goal and Hawes soon had another opportunity to score.  A mazy dribble through the East Grinstead defence exposed Richard Potton but the goalkeeper did well to block Hawes shot. 

Surbiton were really giving their all as the second half passed the midway point and when the ball fell to Richard Alexander a yard from goal and with Potton prone on the floor it looked as if Surbiton would reduce the deficit.  But it was not to be.  A combination of defender and goalkeeper conspired to pressure Alexander and his shot trickled agonisingly wide of the far post.

As they looked to relieve the pressure on their defence East Grinstead broke upfield and won a penalty corner.  With lightening quick passes Glenn Kirkham pulled out the top of the circle where Ashley Jackson jumped the left slip and Scott Ashdown fired a rocket beyond Duncan Holmes in the Surbiton goal to make it 5-2.

There then followed an incredible period of two minutes in which the score went from 5-2 to 9-3.  Surbiton pulled one back through Tim Pinnock’s flick into the far corner before East Grinstead went on the rampage.  Ashley Jackson and Scott Ashdown combined to waltz through the Surbiton defence with Ashdown netting for 6-3; Jackson completed his hat-trick shortly after with a goal from the right hand side and scored again to make it 8-3.  With two minutes remaining Mike Holland got in on the act with a goal for 9-3.  Determined to give a good account of themselves there was still time for two more Surbiton goals from Pinnock, from a penalty corner, and Michael Hoolihan sweeping home from the left side of the circle.

With the match broadcast live on Sky Sports, the game was an incredible advert for indoor hockey.  With four goals in the final, Ashley Jackson proved once again that he is worth his weight in goals to club and country.

Afterwards, East Grinstead Richard Organ said, “We started well and were in control but allowed Surbiton back into the game.  We reacted well and sealed it after attacking more.  Next year we want to make it three in a row.”

Mark Pearn, East Grinstead’s number three said, “It was a pretty good game, although I felt as if we struggled a bit in the second half.  Surbiton defended deep and we had to change our tactics to break them down.”

Man of the hour Ashley Jackson added, “It was good fun. We were confident before the game but always knew anything could happen.”

Finishing, Matt Jones, East Grinstead manager, said “The National Indoor Hockey Championships have been a great advertisement for indoor hockey.  The new arena has been fantastic and the electricity of the indoor game should really help with getting people interested in the sport. 

“The semi final was tough test because we all know of Reading’s quality and Surbiton’s depth and talent was clear for everyone to see here.  It certainly wasn’t a one sided goal.  We’re delighted to have won tonight.”