Tim: Surbiton ‘can’t be underestimated’
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