Midfield is often the battlefield where top level hockey can be won and lost. With so many top class midfield performers in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Premier League this category was probably the hardest to narrow down to the main contenders. Before you look through the runners and riders for those three coveted midfield positions, why not go back and cast your vote for a goalkeeper and four defenders, if you haven’t already. If you have, read on and see who you can vote for to play in midfield for the team of the season.
Chris Grassick, Surbiton:
The Scotland star who won his first Great Britain caps this season has been an integral part of Surbiton’s charge towards the playoffs. Grassick has impressed with his skill on the ball and his direct, attacking style. The 23-year-old has supplied plenty of ammunition for the goalscoring exploits of Alan Forsyth and Matt Daly whilst also scoring five times himself. Grassick is the heartbeat of an excellent Surbiton side.
Nick Catlin, Reading:
Catlin, fresh from a year playing in Belgium has showcased some phenomenal technical skills on his return to the English league. His pace with and without the ball ensures he has been a constant danger to opposition defences and an exciting player for the fans to watch.
Chris Newman, Reading:
Perhaps a surprise name to those who haven’t seen much of Reading this season, but rest assured, Newman is well worth a place in the team of the season. The very definition of the phrase “put in a hell of a shift” he seems to be everywhere, working tirelessly for the Reading cause. He is by no means just a workhorse however, displaying some superb link up play with his teammates and chipping in with seven goals, just three fewer than Reading’s top scorer Andy Watts. An outstanding season from the Reading No20.
Glenn Kirkham, East Grinstead:
What can you say about Kirkham that hasn’t already been said? With East Grinstead securing first place in the league and a return to the Euro Hockey League the former Great Britain skipper has been impeccable. His distribution is superb, never wasting a pass and ensuring things keep ticking over in midfield whilst his experience has proved invaluable in the big games. A steady hand and cool head in the tempestuous top of the table clashes Kirkham has been a class act, as usual this season.
Ashley Jackson, East Grinstead:
Another vital cog in the East Grinstead midfield Jackson has been superb for the Sussex side. He has scored 14 goals this season, nine coming from penalty corners but it is not just his goal threat that is important to them. His ability to pick a pass is arguably the best in the league and has supplied countless chances for East Grinstead, the league’s top scorers. He will surely be one of the stars of the show at the end of season playoffs as he has been all season.
Kwan Browne, Canterbury:
One of the most competitive players in the whole league Browne has been a linchpin for Canterbury yet again this season. Browne was instrumental in the Kent side’s excellent late season run of form. Capable of brilliance such as this and this, he is a fantastic player who makes a huge difference on the pitch as a player and off the pitch as a coach for Canterbury.
Adam Dixon, Beeston:
It has been a fine season for Dixon. Named the Hockey Writers’ Player of the Year, re-established as a key member of the international team, a spell in the Hockey India League and a string of excellent performances for Beeston. Dixon is extremly versatile, able to turn his hand to pretty much any position on the pitch whilst remaining a model of consistency. With Beeston’s injury list growing all the time, having their inspirational captain back in the fold has been vital.
Henry Weir, Wimbledon:
Weir, a summer signing from Loughborough is a player who has regularly impressed this season. He has shown a fine range of passing and was instrumental in Wimbledon’s excellent unbeaten run which gave the Wombles a great chance of making the playoffs. Still only 23 but already a key component in Ben Marsden’s team, it is a real testament to the ability and form the No7 has showcased this season.
Niall Stott, East Grinstead:
Another from the engine room of title contenders East Grinstead, Stott rivals Kwan Browne for the title of the most competitive player in the league. An absolute warrior with more than a touch of class about him the Scotland star has come up with ten goals this season, all from open play. He has provided some much needed steel to the EG side whilst his experience has helped to bed in the new players, ensuring Grinstead return to the summit of the league after a below-par season last time out.
Use the poll below to select up to three choices to play in the midfield of The Top of the D’s Team of the Year. The contenders to play up front will follow this afternoon.