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Away days have proven tough in six-year reign

Hockey | Published:

LIFTING the Inter-Insular trophy would be the ideal way for Laura Webber to cap her first season as Guernsey captain.

New Guernsey captain Laura Webber on the ball against the UK Armed Forces. (Picture by Peter Carey, 20877718)

The Puffins midfielder took over the role from Gemma Underwood at the start of this campaign, but with the nucleus of the squad having largely remained the same for several years, the transition was a smooth one.

But while Guernsey have held onto the inter-insular spoils since 2013 and were 4-2 winners last year, they are looking to record a rare win at Les Quennevais today with the last couple of encounters on Jersey soil ending as draws.

The new captain is looking forward to leading her island against the old enemy.

‘Taking over from Gemma was always going to be tough as she was a great captain for a number of years and we have certainly missed her this season, but so far I have enjoyed the challenge,’ Webber said.

‘I’d say we are all pretty determined when it comes to inter-insulars anyway, but leading the team as captain will, of course, be special – getting a win in Jersey would make it extra special.’

It has been a fairly successful season for the Greens, who made it to the last 16 of the EH Women’s Tier Two Championship.

The narrow first-round victory over London Wayfarers at Footes Lane was followed by impressive away wins over Bishop’s Stortford, 5-2, and then Hampstead & Westminster, 4-1.

A quality UK Armed Forces side eventually ended their run last month, but Webber feels valuable lessons have been learnt along the way.

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‘Obviously we were a little disappointed to end our run in the EH tournament back in February. However, the team who knocked us out – UK Armed Forces – were a strong, experienced team and playing those types of teams is always a good challenge,’ she said.

‘These tough games give us a lot to work on, but we can take the positives and see that we have grown as a squad and have benefitted massively from playing competitive games throughout the season.

‘I would say we have gained confidence as our team performance in recent games against Men’s Division Two teams has improved, too, and with focus now on inter-insulars, all of this is good preparation.’

Knowing that inter-insulars have a tendency to be tight affairs, the Guernsey captain added that the need to be clinical in front of goal is something that has been mentioned in the build-up to this weekend.

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‘One area we have been focusing on all season is our composure on the ball and not giving it away too cheaply. David can often be heard on the side lines shouting “look after the ball”,’ said Webber.

‘As far as preparation for this weekend, we have also been working on our attacking play and getting the most out of opportunities in front of goal.’

Motivation, though, will not be a problem and the new captain will be keeping her pre-match message simple.

‘On Saturday, I would say the key to success would be positive mind-set from the start, working as a unit and doing the simple things well,’ Webber said.

‘The majority of us have played a number of inter-insular matches together now and I have no doubt that every player on our team will put 100% effort in this weekend.’

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