Tim: Surbiton ‘can’t be un­der­es­ti­mated’

The Hockey Paper - - SUPER 6S - By Ross Law­son

SURBITON are very much the un­known quan­tity in this year’s Su­per 6s fi­nals, and Sevenoaks out­door skip­per Tim War­ring­ton in­sists his side can­not af­ford to un­der­es­ti­mate their semi­fi­nal op­po­nents.

Nei­ther side has a Su­per 6s ti­tle to their name, but Sevenoaks at least have ex­pe­ri­enced the Wembley pres­sure cooker be­fore, de­spite be­ing the only side not in the out­door Pre­mier Divi­sion to have reached fi­nals day.

A 1-0 win over in­door kings East Grinstead – where Ge­orge Torry’s strike was the dif­fer­ence – was a stand­out re­sult from the round robin phase and shows Sevenoaks have the po­ten­tial to claim the tro­phy de­spite fin­ish­ing fourth in qual­i­fy­ing.

And War­ring­ton is hope­ful his side’s big-game men­tal­ity will stand them in good stead against a Surbiton side who have not reached the fi­nals since the 2009-10 sea­son.

“We’re feel­ing con­fi­dent, we’re very ex­cited and it’s a fan­tas­tic place to be able to go,” he said. “This will be our third time in a row in the semi-fi­nals.

“We’ve lost out in a cou­ple of very tight games in the past but we’re hope­ful and con­fi­dent we can get at least one step fur­ther this time – hav­ing suf­fered that be­fore there is po­ten­tially that ex­tra bit of mo­ti­va­tion for us to keep that in check.

“Surbiton haven’t been there be­fore but have got a very good squad, won the round-robin and beat us nar­rowly, so we cer­tainly won’t be un­der­es­ti­mat­ing them.

“They’ve got guys in the Great Bri­tain side and their coach has been there and done it at all lev­els of the game, so they’ve got a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence along­side their youth which could help them.

“We got a good vic­tory against East Grinstead, the first time we’ve beaten them in the tour­na­ment, and that’s a good foun­da­tion from which to build.

“We tend to raise our game against the big op­po­si­tion, and hope­fully we can take that for­ward into fi­nals day.”

It may be their first-ever ap­pear­ance at Wembley since the Su­per 6s show­case event moved to London, but Surbiton are a side re­born in the com­pe­ti­tion this year.

Un­der the stew­ard­ship of player-coach Mark Pearn, the south-west London out­fit have given the tour­na­ment a far higher pri­or­ity than in re­cent sea­sons.

They topped the qual­i­fy­ing stages and re­main un­beaten in­doors this term, with po­tent trio Wil­liam Mar­shall, Alan Forsyth and Bren­dan Creed scor­ing for fun.

And Pearn is hope­ful his ti­tlewin­ning ex­pe­ri­ence from his days at East Grinstead will pay div­i­dends.

He said: “I was for­tu­nate to have not only gone to Wembley with East Grinstead, but to have been suc­cess­ful there and there are so many pos­i­tives that we can take from that.

“Go­ing there with a new side, I know how much the guys are look­ing for­ward to play­ing in the at­mos­phere, and we’re all des­per­ate to take on the chal­lenge.

“There are a lot of pos­i­tive mem­o­ries of Wembley – I’ve won all the games I’ve played there and that’s not some­thing I want to come to an end.

“I feel we can get a lot bet­ter still, and I’m not sure the other sides can quite say that, so we cer­tainly have that in our locker.”

East Grinstead take on Read­ing in the other semi-fi­nal clash, with the for­mer still in the hunt for an as­ton­ish­ing ninth-straight in­door ti­tle.

They showed they were fal­li­ble in the group stages how­ever, with losses against Sevenoaks and semi-fi­nal op­po­nents Read­ing – whose 30-year-old cor­ner spe­cial­ist Harry Jawanda has scored 13 times al­ready in the com­pe­ti­tion.

But Pearn ad­mits that while he has a semi-fi­nal to win first, a show­down with for­mer club East Grinstead would be a dream re­sult for him.

“I’d be fool­ish if I didn’t have half an eye on that one,” he added. “We’ve got plans for ev­ery team we could face, not be­ing pre­sump­tu­ous, but in prepa­ra­tion.

“I’ve played against both EG and Read­ing so it will be in­trigu­ing who­ever we come up against if we do get there.

“I think it’s cer­tainly time for a new win­ner, EG have had their mo­ment and it’s up to us now to go and win that.”

Dan­ger signs: Sevenoaks’ Tim War­ring­ton is wary of semi-fi­nal op­po­nents Surbiton

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