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Showboating or dazzling skill? Alan Forsyth shows ‘unpredictable’ side with Surbiton shoot-out heroics

Alan Forsyth and Harry Gibson celebrate Finals success PIC: England Hockey

By Rod Gilmour

His shoot out strikes may have got lost in the ticker tape if Hampstead & Westminster had held on for a famous League Finals win.

But Alan Forsyth, the league’s top scorer for a third straight year, was able to reveal that his two world-class shoot out attempts on Sunday had been tested out in training with goalkeeper Harry Gibson as Surbiton claimed back-to-back titles in dramatic fashion.

It was part one of the double double for a jubilant Surbiton.

His first effort saw the Scot create a full spin, the arc deceiving Hampstead keeper Jamie Legg and handing the 26-year-old time and space to slot home. It was a move of a player in confident form.

With the final now entering sudden death, Forsyth was sent in again and this time looked to attempt the same move, only to do a half spin and shoot the other way with Legg possibly thinking that the Scot would try the same move.

Forsyth told The Hockey Paper: “I practice a lot of different thing in front of goal because I don’t want to become predictable so I have to have options. I did both shuffles like that against Gibbo on Thursday night.”

Mel Clewlow, commentating alongside Simon Mason, admitted that she had never seen Forsyth’s shoot out move before.

However, the move has been tried before across the globe and it did bring back memories of Black Stick Simon Child’s attempt against England in 2014, which proved to be another match winner.

Commentating in New Delhi that day, Mason suggested that Child’s goal had a touch of “showboating”.

Yet both these sweeping moves clearly showed brilliant skill in a pressure cooker environment.

Forsyth’s form – he notched two goals in normal time to add to his 26 over the season – left his coach Mark Pearn to suggest on Friday that the Scot should be heading for a Tokyo 2020 berth.

“I have to make sure I perform in training Monday to Friday with GB and when I get the opportunities I need to grab them,” added Forsyth.

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