The Cyril Anekstein Cup final may be over a month away, but the mind games have already started.
Moments after his team beat Camden Park in the semi-final, Hendon boss David Garbacz turned up the pressure on Norstar London Raiders, claiming their cup aspirations will be quashed on grass at Wingate & Finchley.
Both Raiders, who play home matches on a Generation 3 artificial pitch, and Hendon can win the treble. But Garbacz believes the fact the final will be played on grass gives them an advantage.
"It should be a cracker. The two top teams in the league contesting a cup final in May — what could be better?
"I await their request to change the venue from Wingate to their 3G as I’m not sure they’ve played a game away from it all season. They might have to go out and buy a pair of real boots which has been unheard of so far this year.”
Phil Peters, whose side clinched their place in the final following a hard-fought win over Oakwood, hit back: “Garbacz loves the attention, doesn’t he?
"Despite all the jibes about our lack of grass preparation we’ve had a pretty good record on the surface and would have been happy to beat Faithfold, Team and Lions Blue on grass had the weather held out.
"That said, this isn’t about Hendon. It’s about Norstar London Raiders and the first major final that the club has been involved in. We couldn’t care less who we’re playing against or where we’re playing. All that matters is that when we crawl off the pitch after 90 minutes it’s winners medals that will be going round our necks and Rhodesy who will have his hands on that trophy.
"We can’t wait to get stuck into them again as they’re due a good beating."
Yishai Last (2), Avidan Last (2) and Danny Kon were Hendon’s scorers as Hendon over-powered a resilient Camden
team in the closing stages, while Jamie Wolfson and Matt Stock helped Raiders progress against Oakwood.