History on horizon for Grinstead

Niall Stott top-scored for East Grinstead in the league weekend. Picture by Ady Kerry

Niall Stott top-scored for East Grinstead in the league weekend. Picture by Ady Kerry

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Niall Stott insists there will be no extra pressure on East Grinstead as they look to write their name into hockey’s history books.

Reigning champions Grinstead can set two outright English records when they contest the Maxinutrition Hockey 5s finals at Wembley on Sunday.

They will be chasing a sixth title in a row and a new landmark of nine in total, having equalled both records last season.

Grinstead face a semi-final showdown with Holcombe with the winners meeting either Canterbury or Reading in the final.

Indoor hockey has undergone a major change this season by switching from six to five-a-side and Grinstead have adapted to the new format superbly so far.

They won eight out of eight across the two league weekends to take the No. 1 seeding into finals weekend and Great Britain international Stott led the scoring charts with 14 goals.

But Stott, who celebrates his 33rd birthday next week, does not believe their dominance in the league weekends or their quest for records will place any extra burden on the squad.

He said: “There is no extra pressure on us. We always expect ourselves to do really well and we put 100% into everything we do.

“I feel we put more pressure on ourselves than anyone else puts on us because we want to win so badly and we are going for a record six in a row.

“Because we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, it shows in our results.

“I was very pleased with how the league went because it was a new format. It was new to everyone, we had lots of discussions about how we should play it tactically and it was really good.

“We won all eight games and we have not done that previously when we were used to the structure. So to play a new structure and be 100% successful was very pleasing.

“We always want to succeed, we always go out to win. Our first priority will be to win on Sunday and the record will take care of itself.”

Stott joined East Grinstead in September 2009 after a spell playing in Germany.

Having won 83 Great Britain caps, including appearing at the 2004 Olympics, he brings a wealth of experience to the squad and is one of those players who is as proficient at the indoor game as he is outdoors.

His time as Saint Hill has coincided with a golden period at the club – which he hopes to be part of for years to come.

Stott said: “I think I’m playing well again. In a different format we all have different roles and responsibilities. I’m pleased with the way I have played and I think I have contributed towards the team being successful in this indoor campaign so far.

“I really love this club. It is a big part of me. I like spending time here, I have lots of good friends here. It is just a really good family, friendly club and we are successful.

“I love it here and I will be here for a few years yet.”

Grinstead go into finals night at Wembley without internationals Ashley Jackson, Mark Gleghorne and Iain Lewers who are currently taking part in the Hockey India League, although none of them took part in the league weekends anyway.

Tthey otherwise have a fully fit squad to choose from and Stott believes there is a good balance in the group.

He said: “We have a lot of new boys coming in who have not played much indoor hockey at all. But we have that balance between youth and experience.

“The experienced players give a lot of encouragement to the less experienced players and the mixture is working really well for us.”

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