EPL preview: Clarkson aiming for perfect ending

Telford Tigers’ forward Doug Clarkson says winning the EPL play-off trophy on his final weekend before retirement would be the perfect way to end his career.

Clarkson, whose team faces Basingstoke Bison in the semi-final, will begin training as a firefighter in Canada after the play-offs and he’s determined to finish on a high at Coventry.

“It would mean everything to win the play-offs – this year has been special, with us winning the league after everything that happened,” said Clarkson.

“To be in with a chance of winning another trophy at a fun weekend like the play-offs is what everybody wants.

“All the guys are ready, so it is definitely going to be a good weekend. To win another trophy would be a great memory of our time in Telford.

“It doesn’t matter who we play this weekend. Even after beating Sheffield, when we were waiting to see who our opponents would be, we knew it would be a tough game regardless.

“For the final four tournament teams are always coming in playing well and playing strong, so it should be fun.

“We know a lot of fans will probably be against us, but we just need to enjoy it and use that as motivation.

“We’ve done that all year, going to other teams and having people yell at us, so we need to use that energy and turn it into a positive.”

Guildford Flames tackle MK Lightning in the other semi-final aiming to successfully defend their play-off title.

The Flames lost just once in the group stage and Head Coach Paul Dixon believes his team are fully prepared for the task ahead.

“It’s the only trophy that’s up for grabs now – after us losing out on the league and the cup, I said to the guys that we want to retain our trophy.

“The guys that are new want to add that to their résumé as well, so it’s all to play for.

“It’s going be tough – the four teams are good, but we’re down to one-off games and you’ve got to have a bit of luck on the night and get a few bounces your way.

“I think we go into it in good form. Topping our group was certainly hard, but we can see the finish line in sight and hopefully we go to Coventry with a lot of guys in our team full of confidence.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

Basingstoke Bison v Telford Tigers
MK Lightning v Guildford Flames

Sunday

Basingstoke/Telford v MK/Guildford

(Image permission: Steve Brodie)

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