As Jersey Hockey teams head away to Guernsey for a long awaited Inter-Insular between the two islands, Dan Andrade has caught up with a few key faces in the Jersey camp!
So far we have heard from Natacha Kay and Sarah Heelis ahead of the Women’s and both U16 games. To conclude the previews of a big weekend of Hockey, Dan spoke with Jersey Men’s Hockey captain Tom Millar ahead of him leading out the men’s side tomorrow afternoon.
The full interview is below!
How exciting is it that the Inter-Insular is happening this weekend for you and the team?
We’re all very excited to be not only playing an inter-insular, but also representing Jersey for the first time in almost two years. Because of Covid, we haven’t had that opportunity since November 2019 so we’re all raring to go.
How have previous games vs Guernsey been for you? What kind of experience is it?
We’ve always enjoyed close matches against Guernsey. We beat them in 2018, but they won the 2019 match on their home pitch and that was the last time we played them. It’s been a long two-and-a-half years of waiting for another chance to play an inter-insular, which brings extra excitement. We play in an England Hockey knock-out competition every season, but there’s nothing quite like the buzz of an inter-insular. Although it’s difficult for Jersey fans to travel and support this weekend, you can guarantee that there will be plenty there cheering on Guernsey.
Do you get more nervous for these games compared to others?
I used to get quite nervous when I was younger but I think in recent years those nerves have been replaced with excitement. Every time you represent your Island at any sport it’s an exciting moment, and I’m getting to the age where there might not be many more opportunities!
Are the team in good shape and ready for the game?
Yes, we’ve been training hard since August with this match in our sights. As well as our outdoor sessions, all players have been involved in the new Indoor Super League which Jersey Hockey launched this year. That’s given players the chance to work on their close control and fitness. After the Guernsey game this weekend, we’re away playing Crawley in the England Hockey Championships, so it has been great to have these back-to-back fixtures to work towards.
Who would you say are your key players?
Like any team sport, we try to focus on the collective rather than individuals. We’ve got skilful players in several positions, but we’ve also got great strength in depth to our squad. We’re taking 14 players and, as there are rolling substitutions in hockey, every one of those players will be important.
It’s in Guernsey, do you enjoy the extra challenge that brings?
We know the home crowd are going to be extremely vocal in their support of Guernsey, and rightly so. It’s up to us to try to block that out and focus on the processes we’ve been talking about in training.
Are you confident you can go and get the win?
Of course we’re confident we can win. We know it won’t be easy, but no match against Guernsey ever is. The key will be playing to our strengths and, as always, taking the chances we create. Set plays are crucial in hockey and so we must be clinical when presented with those opportunities.
Finally, when is your game and how can people keep updated?
The match is on Saturday at midday. There will be a live stream being played at the Jersey Hockey Clubhouse at Les Quennevais for anyone who’d like to watch it. Otherwise, I’m sure there’ll be updates on the Jersey Hockey and Guernsey Hockey Twitter feeds.
Jersey Squad: Alex Noel, Anthony Kay, Ned Crosby, Steve Le Maistre, Tom Sibley, Joel Dudley, Will Hodgson, Peter Millar, Tom Bolton, Sam Watling, Tom Millar, Phil Cuming, Tom Heelis and Sam Dunstan