HOCKEY Biggest game in Plymouth's history

Plymouth Marjon hockey clubPlymouth Marjon Hockey Club head coach Jamie Oxley admits Sunday’s England Hockey Men’s Cup last 16 tie at Surbiton is “by far” the biggest game in the club’s history.

The Men’s Cup is England Hockey’s equivalent of football’s FA Cup competition.

Oxley – who has been associated with Plymouth for more than 20 years – said: “We have been involved in some big games when we have won promotion to the national league from the regional league but we’ve never faced the best side in the country.

“Sunday’s match is by far the biggest game in the club’s history.”

Coached by enthusiast Oxley, Plymouth have spent all-too-brief spells in the England Hockey League Men’s Conference West, meaning they have experienced being one of the country’s top 40 teams.

At noon on Sunday the reds face the country’s number one side at Surbiton’s Sugden Road home pitch in Surrey.

Oxley admits it will be “a whole new experience” for the Plymouth club and personally as the reds head coach.

“How do you prepare to face a side full of internationals?” he muses in the build-up to the big game.

“It will be the speed Surbiton play at, the pace of the game.

“Everyone is looking forward to it.”

Oxley is relishing the challenge of pitting his coaching wits and encouraging Plymouth to play against a Surbiton side that until last weekend’s 3-1 top of the table defeat at Holcombe had not lost in seven opening rounds of England Men’s Premier hockey.

“We will be taking a full squad of 16 and I realise we will need to be using as many substitutes as possible to try and keep up with the pace of the game.

“Physically it is going to be a tough test for the squad – that’s why everyone will have a part to play.”

“I would imagine they will play most of their first team regulars, as their second team also have a cup tie on Sunday.”

Surbiton are set to include Alan Forsyth, who tops the Premier scoring charts, and his Great Britain and Scotland team-mate Chris Grassick.

New Zealand Olympian Andy Hayward, former GB Olympian Matt Daly and a trio of Welsh internationals including Lewis Prosser, Rupert Shipperley and goal keeper David Kettle could also feature on the home team sheet.

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