We are delighted to announce the signing of Alistair Clift from the University of Nottingham for the 2017/18 season.
Ali, 22, joins us from Nottingham University where he had been playing for four years, before Nottingham he played for Bishops Stortford Hockey Club and Surbiton. He knows fellow new signing Daniel Faulkner well, having played together at junior international level and both have attended Exsportise summer camps together. Ali is a ball-carrying defender, he will be part of both the indoor and outdoor squads.
Ali, welcome to Saint Hill, how does it feel to be an EG player?
Alistair Clift: It is brilliant. After a fantastic 4 years at the University of Nottingham it's going to be an exciting challenge to make the step up to the Premier Division. I think EG is the perfect place to do that, there is also the chance to try and get out of my father's shadow.
We have to talk about your father (Robert Clift), what is it like pulling on the blue and white shirt of EG, 30 years after your father did the same?
AC: Attempting to follow in my Dad's footsteps is something I seem to making a habit of, with him having also gone to Nottingham University. It helps that there are plenty of faces around the club that I already know, just don't expect me to emulate him! My younger brother, Oliver, is also joining the club this year so it is a bit of a homecoming for the Clift family and it should be a lot of fun
You have been around EG for a couple of weeks now in pre-season, what are your first impressions of the club?
AC: Everyone's been really welcoming and training has been full of quality. It's an exciting time with new faces and some quality signings joining an experienced group, you can tell by the set-up here that it is a club moving forward in the right direction. I'm looking forward to coming back from an injury I picked up in the Tonbridge 9s tournament and I can't wait to get back into training. Breaking my hand in one of my first games for the club wasn't the best start but thanks to Ollie Harley (EG Vet + Hand Surgeon), I think I should be back fully fit for the second game of the season but I will find out more next week.
Can you tell us a bit about your playing style and what we can expect to see from you?
AC: A ball carrying half back is probably the best way to describe me. Although I did have a reputation in Nottingham for only have one skill, so watch out for the left to right V-drag! As for goals I wouldn't expect too many (I have got more Own Goals to my name). I hope to bring plenty of assists, solid defending and a good work rate as well, but that is expected of every player here!
Do you have any tips for the young defenders out there hoping to let no forwards past them?
AC: This may seem pretty simple, but only let one of either the ball or the man get past you. So as a youngster don't get disheartened if a player chucks and runs, just make sure you get your body in the way. A second tip I learned in Nottingham was to try and keep your feet pointing the same direction as the attackers, this means it is easier to keep up with them and nab the ball off them.
Do you have a message for the EG fans?
I am really looking forward to playing for the club and it should be a very exciting season. With the players we've got there should be plenty of entertainment for the fans!
Due to his Injury, Ali will be making his EG debut in the second game of the season away at Brooklands, wearing the #18 shirt.