Clarkson to make the most of Coventry challenge

Clarkson to make the most of Coventry challenge

Telford Tigers forward Doug Clarkson says winning the play-off trophy on his final weekend before retirement would “mean everything”.

The 6ft, 5in star has become a fans favourite in Telford this season, scoring 83 points, including four goals in last Sunday’s encounter with Sheffield.

He will begin training as a firefighter in Canada after this weekend’s play-off finals tournament, bringing the curtain down on a 12-year senior playing career.

And Clarkson is determined to finish on a high in Coventry.

He said: “It would mean everything to win the play-offs. This year has been special, with us winning the league after everything that happened.

“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, Tommy is 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.”

The 28-year-old will be part of a Tigers squad that faces Basingstoke in Saturday’s semi-final, with over 3,000 fans expected at the Skydome Arena.

The winner of that game will then play either Milton Keynes or Guildford in Sunday afternoon’s showpiece final.

He added: “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.”

Clarkson’s retirement, announced last weekend, came as a surprise to many Tigers fans – and the former Cardiff star confessed to feeling emotional at the club’s final home game of the season.

“I think it hit me at the last game here in Telford last weekend,” he said.

“It was an emotional weekend and of course that was on my mind. When I realise I’m not training the same for next season it will hit too, but I am looking forward to it.”

Telford play Basingstoke Bison in Saturday’s second semi-final at 5pm, following the first game between Milton Keynes and Guildford at 1pm.

The final takes place at 4pm on Sunday.