Special guest McNaught-Barrington not it Surbiton plans
Surbiton team manager James Lloyd has confirmed the club has not discussed signing indoor goal machine Rufus McNaught-Barrington on a permanent basis.
The Welsh international guest star smashed 34 goals – including nine in one game – as the Sugden Road outfit won all eight matches to lift this year’s Maxinutrition Hockey Fives Division One indoor title.
Surbiton, who had won their opening four games the previous weekend, beat Old Loughtonians 10-4 and Brooklands Manchester University by the same score in Bristol on Saturday, before defeating Cannock 9-6 and Havant 20-5 to return to the Premier Division in style.
McNaught-Barrington, who scored 15 goals last weekend to go with this week’s haul of 19, is currently contracted to Belgium club Gantoise and Lloyd insisted his hockey future had not come up for discussion.
“I’ve have never seen anyone score that many goals in this competition before,” he said.
“The next highest goal scorer this year had 26, which shows you how far ahead of everyone he was.
“Where he plays hockey is in his hands. Rufus has
a permanent professional contract in Belgium and we have made no untoward approach.”
Surbiton are chasing the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division title and have reached the Euro Hockey League last 16.
And Lloyd admitted a return to the top level of indoor competition is vital to the club’s plans of prolonged success.
“The indoor game improves your discipline, control and your passing of the ball in a confined area,” he added.
“There are a lot of transferable skills to the outdoor game.
“You can see the difference when we return to outdoor hockey because the players who have not had a break come back much sharper.
“As a whole, the indoor format is a very important part of our strategy.”
Meanwhile, Surbiton Ladies could not match their male counterparts as they finished third in the Maxinutrition Hockey Fives Indoor Division One for the second season in succession.
Surbiton lost 6-5 to Bristol Firebrands and 6-4 to Buckingham, and beat Brooklands Poynton 6-3 and Wakefield 8-3 on the opening weekend last week.
But hopes of promotion were ended on Saturday after Clifton snatched a 4-4 draw to make wins over Chelmsford (8-1) and Sevenoaks (7-2) worthless ahead of a 6-2 defeat to the University of Birmingham in Sunday’s final match.