PLAYER-coach Peter Millar believes Jersey’s men face their greatest on-field challenge in at least a decade on Saturday, in the shape of Surbiton 2nds.
The Surrey club, whose first XI have been crowned national champions on numerous occasions, boasts one of the largest player pools in the country and could well send a group of future internationals to Les Quennevais for their EH Tier-2 Championship quarter-final [2pm push back].
Millar, himself a former professional, says his side will need to overcome a formidable hurdle if they are to match their 2019 achievement and reach the last four.
‘Surbiton are going to be very good,’ he said. ‘They will be very well drilled and very fit. There’s no doubt that this will be the toughest game Jersey has faced in the last decade. They will have four or five experienced players who have been around the block and some very good young lads. If you want to be an international, as a junior you would probably go and set yourself up with one of two or three clubs in the UK. Surbiton is one of those.
‘But we are fortunate in that we’ve got a group of guys who are very talented and we have a combination of experience and youth. I think that will be key. We have a few experienced heads who know what to do in crucial moments of the match.’
Discussing the rare opportunity to play national-level hockey on home turf, Millar said: ‘It makes the hard work and the day trips in the earlier rounds worthwhile. It will be our first home game in front of the new stadium and we’re fortunate that it’s against a well-recognised team. Even those not involved in hockey might have heard of Surbiton.
‘Before Covid we played Repton in the semi-finals at home and we had around 100 people lining the pitch. Hopefully we can get the same, or more, again and maybe some people who aren’t involved in hockey. It will be an appealing atmosphere with food and drink on offer and it’ll be a good chance to come and get a taste of what it’s all about.’