Double Olympic hero Matt Daly has not given up on his dream of playing European hockey again next season, despite Surbiton’s setback on Sunday.
The Sugden Road outfit went down 5-3 at second-placed Reading, ending Surbiton’s seven-match unbeaten run.
However, despite the defeat, Surbiton remain fourth in the MHL Premier Division and in the play-offs for Europe due to a defeat for fifth-placed Wimbledon.
Daly said: “Losing to Reading was disappointing, but ultimately our own doing.
“We made it difficult for ourselves to sustain pressure due to ill-discipline and a few cards.
“The first half was tight, but we put ourselves under the cosh really.”
Scott Evans, Geoff McCabe and Rob Moore all spent periods in the sin-bin after being shown yellow cards, while goals from Daly, Chris Grassick and Alan Forsyth were not enough.
Surbiton already have a date in the European Hockey League this season after reaching the last 16 – they face Dutch side Oranje Zwart on April 17 for a place in the quarter-finals.
However, despite that, and wrestling for fourth spot with Wimbledon, Daly says Surbiton are thinking only of themselves.
“We’re only looking at our games to be honest,” he said. “If we win our final four games we’re in the play-offs and get another shot at Europe. That’s the main aim.”
Surbiton host Loughborough Students on Sunday, and Daly has a message for his team-mates.
“It is absolutely crucial we bounce back from this defeat,” he said.
“Loughborough are a typical university side, a lot of energy and hustle and bustle about them.
“They are scrapping at the bottom and so will be desperate for points,” he added.