NIHL North round-up – week 10

BLACKBURN, UK – Solway Sharks stay top of NIHL1 North after a comfortable 7-0 win at Telford Titans. Sharks took an early lead through Adian Fulton, and the game was over as a contest by the first break as Struan Tonnar, Calum Henderson and Adam Reynolds made it 4-0. Reynolds and Nathan Salem added further goals in the second period before Bob Chalmers’ late effort sealed another two points for the Dumfries outfit.

Jared Owen (Photo: Steve McKelvey)

Jared Owen (Photo: Steve McKelvey)

Billingham Stars missed the chance to go top of the table after a mixed weekend. On Saturday they ran out 4-0 winners over Telford – Michael Bowman (2), Simon Leach and Anthony Price were on the scoresheet. The following evening Stars hosted Blackburn Hawks but quickly found themselves 2-0 down – Jared Owen and Sam Dunford got the goals. Jamie Pattison pulled one back late in the first and Bowman made it 2-2 soon after the break. Chris Arnone (2) and Ivo Dimitrijevs put the visitors firmly in control, but Bowman’s second of the night gave Stars some hope for the final period. Richie Thornton made it 5-4, but Hawks’ defence held firm to seal the win.
Blackburn Player/Coach Jared Owen was delighted with his team’s performance, “Billingham’s never an easy place to go, but 5-on-5 I thought we were the better team,” said Owen. “They might’ve had a few missing, but so did we. It’s a game we’d have lost last year so I’m really pleased. There’s plenty more to come from this team.” 
Saturday evening saw Trafford Metros and Sutton Sting fight out an entertaining 3-3 draw in Altrincham. New Czech import Tomas Hnilica put Metros ahead after eight minutes, but Matt Jeffcock and Ben Lowe turned the game around midway through the second. Hnilica made it 2-2 just before the second buzzer, but Ryan Johnson restored Sutton’s lead early in the third. Andy Dunn’s 49th minute equaliser sealed a welcome point for the Metros. Sting followed up on Sunday with their sixth draw of the season – 4-4 at home to Whitley Warriors. Sting led 4-1 early in the third, but Warriors put together a stirring comeback to secure a point – DJ Good grabbed the equaliser with less than two minutes left.
Ollie Betteridge (Photo: John Knowles)

Ollie Betteridge (Photo: John Knowles)

Nottingham Lions kept their unbeaten NIHL2 North record intact with a 6-1 win at Sheffield Senators. Jonathan Kirk gave Senators an early lead, but two goals in the middle period from Ollie Betteridge edged Lions in front. Nottingham ran away with things in the final period with further goals from Elliot Perrin, Dan Hazeldine and Joe Wightman, before Betteridge completed his third hat-trick of the season.
Deeside Dragons kept their promotion bid on track with a 4-1 win at Hull Stingrays. Sam Towner put Hull ahead early in the second, but Tom King and Brian Worrall put Dragons in front by the end of the period. Ric Hughes and Andrew Chappell added further goals in the final period to leave Dragons level on points with Nottingham, though they have played three games more. Soilihull Barons are third after a comfortable 9-1 win at Blackburn Eagles – Andy Whitehouse scored a couple.
Next weekend sees Blackburn face a tough trip to Solway on Saturday, before hosting Billingham the following evening.
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