LONDON, UK – The NIHL South exploded into life once again as the first silverware came up for grabs and Cardiff sent an early message to the big boys.
Wightlink Raiders Coach Jeremy Cornish was gracious in defeat following back to back defeats against the Chelmsford Chieftains the previous weekend, both in the South East Trophy.
“Very disappointing to say the least” summarised the Canadian on his Coaches Corner blog housed on the Wightlink Raiders official website.
“After the first three games couldn’t have gone any better we had a very harsh reality check. Chelmsford is once again the best team in the league in my opinion, they are young, skilled and well drilled and they showed us exactly what it’s going to take to be at the top of the table this season”
“The upsetting thing about last weekend was we made mistakes that we speak about and work on in training, so I guess that could also be a positive as well because we know exactly what we need to work on”
“The only way I think we can sort it out is by repetition and making sure we are constantly reminding guys of how we want to play, playing smart and disciplined hockey is tough, but if we want to be around the top of the table, we need to make sure that’s what happens”
Streatham Coach Barry Spours was in an upbeat mood during the week as he reflected on a convincing 19-4 win over Slough NIHL Jets in the South East Trophy the previous weekend.
“A result like that can have a double effect on the team” explained Spours in an interview with the Streatham Guardian.
“It’s great for the forwards to get the puck in the net three or four times, however, there is the risk the players become complacent and over confident”
“We need to make sure we continue the good form into the Cardiff match. We’ll be throwing everything into that game because we need the points against teams like Cardiff to stay in contention”
Streatham even cancelled the team photo session on Tuesday to ensure the team got extra preparation time for the upcoming weekend games. Personally I was a bit disappointed by the decision as I have recently had a haircut and also a shave.
Being injured is pretty depressing but at the start of the season it is particularly frustrating given the competition for places now at Streatham. We have a big squad and the coaching team now have the luxury of switching players around if needed.
Invicta Dynamos reflected on a disappointing weekend with Coach Kevin Parrish asking his side to go all out against Cardiff to make up for it.
“We’ve won our first two league games without being at our best” admitted Parrish in an interview with the Medway Messenger.
“It’s good to be back at home and we’ll need to set the tone straight away by going out there with all guns blazing”
“Some of our guys need to up their performance levels and some need to up their work rate. We’re not all on the same page at the moment and we need to put that right”
“We’ve got to stop giving the puck away in silly areas and conceding bad goals. As a coach, it’s so frustrating when the team aren’t at their best because the talent is undoubtedly there”
Off the ice, inventive forward Grant Baxter revealed a plan to keep the team rookies in line, whilst adhering to the PC nature of sport these days.
Gone are the days where the team rookie would be taped naked to a set of sticks and thrown on to the ice during a public session, or have their balls shaved by the nominated team doctor, or randomly beaten up on the bus, or be covered in ralgex, or encouraged/nominated to sleep with the larger than life middle aged lady who travelled with the team on road trips with a glint in her eye from the moment the bus key was turned.
Gone… thankfully/sadly/what the hell is he talking about… delete as appropriate.
Invicta’s rookies, namely Harrison Lillis, Sam Cheema and Joe Bliss have all been given a small plant each to look after, name and take on adventures during the season. Updates will be given throughout the season and the plants auctioned off for a good cause at the end.
Naturally Pro Hockey News will be following their progress and encouraging Top Gear style sabotage from everyone else.
Back to the hockey, and Romford Captain Julian Smith was a happy man, as he spoke to the Romford Recorder about his team’s win over Invicta.
“It was a good win on Sunday. It was important to get our South East Trophy campaign started. We want that silverware back” explained the 25 year old former Peterborough player.
“Even with a few injuries, bans and players with sickness, we showed our depth through the line-up”
“We had all three lines rolling and performing. As a team we are feeling better each game and it will show in our results”
Some would suggest that the Raiders Cup, a trophy played out between Wightlink and Romford each year is a glorified friendly, but the way these two sides are wired it is almost always worth keeping an eye out for.
In fact the two teams played out an entertaining 5-5 tie in the first leg which took place on the island. There was controversy and drama, not least with Wightlink’s late equaliser which Romford allege was after the whistle.
Scorers for Wightlink were Nathan Taylor, Jeremy Cornish, Alex Murray, Craig Tribe and Richard Facey. For Romford Juraj Huska hit a hat trick with the other goals coming from Matt Turner and Shaun Yardley.
There was controversy also as Alex Murray and Juraj Huska dropped the gloves in the corner of the ice, and then Jeremy Cornish appeared to react to something said by Romford blue liner Billy Phillips and chased him only for Phillips to turtle and avoid a toe to toe fight.
Clearly still incensed, and with only two young officials trying to resolve the issue (where have we seen this before), Cornish then tried to have another go at the uncharacteristically subdued Phillips on the way to the box, only for the unfortunate Romford captain Julian Smith to get in the way and take a couple of jabs himself.
Things eventually calmed down but the problem for Wightlink was that Cornish picked up a match penalty for his troubles, whilst none of the boys in blue and gold got kicked out.
In Cardiff, the Devils made surprisingly light work of a Streatham team yet to pick up a win in the league. After a tight opening period the Redskins fell apart and the home side skated off with a 12-3 win.
Sean Scarborough impressed with a four goal performance and Steven Osman hit a hat trick for the Devils, Alan Armour scored two and there were also goals for Jason Stone, Steven Fisher and Louis Lockwood.
For Streatham the goals came from Jakub Klima with a brace and a solo goal from Tyrone Miller.
Redskins’ defenseman Rupe Quiney and Ross Wilkinson also went toe to toe to liven things up.
Whilst two of the roughest teams in the league were causing predictable chaos on the island with only two officials to sort them out, two of the most law abiding teams, namely Bracknell and Chelmsford were treated to four officials in their game at the Hive.
A bit like a Sunday Newspaper sending one journalist to meet the Dalai Llama wearing Kevlar and hiding a shot gun down their trousers, whilst sending another to interview some Farc rebels in the Colombian jungle dressed in a tutu.
Bracknell didn’t have enough to stop the Chieftains despite home ice advantage and lost 7-2. Chelmsford goals came from James Ayling and Michael Ranby with two each, and solo efforts from Julius Sinkovic, Tibor Schneider and Alex Green.
Bracknell scorers were Ryan Webb and Danny Hughes.
Cardiff NIHL Devils stole the headlines on Sunday as they completed a fantastic four point weekend with an impressive 6-3 win against Invicta in Kent.
Import Sean Scarborough capped off a great weekend for him personally with a hat trick and there were also goals for Steven Fisher with two and one for Jamie Newton.
For Invicta it was Tim Smith, Peter Vaisanen and Andy Smith who got the goals. There was further bad news for Dynamos bad boy Brad Watchorn who was kicked out after jumping Devils import Robert Sedlak.
Solent & Gosport Devils were left searching for their first win of the season as they went down to Milton Keynes Thunder at the Thunderdome. Import Maksims Petruks had a great night for MK as he fired home four goals, with Greg Randall getting a brace and both Connor Goode and Tom Mboya also scoring.
Scorers for the Devils were George Norcliffe, Kev Tanner and Kent Johnson.
Streatham rounded off a miserable weekend as we lost to Chelmsford in Essex. The Chieftains were always going to be a tough ask on their own ice and so it proved as they hit eight goals past the South Londoners with no reply.
Grant Bartlett, Danny Cox and Gary Clarke all got two goals each for the Chieftains with Julius Sinkovic and Alex Staples also scoring.
It would be easy to get worried from a Redskins point of view about our start to the season, but we have now played Wightlink at home and then Romford, Chelmsford and Cardiff away so far in the league, which is a fixture list from hell if ever there was one.
We have a good roster and I believe things will start to turn for the better sooner rather than later.
The last game of the night saw Romford lift the Raiders Cup on their own ice, after the 5-5 tie the evening before.
Minus Cornish and Robbie Brown, Wightlink went down 7-2 on the night and 12-7 on aggregate.
Nathan Taylor and Jiri Hanzal had put the Wightlink version of the Raiders two goals up at the start of the game before a brace each for Juraj Huska and Frankie Harvey along with goals for Matt Turner, Tom Davis and Shaun Wallis helped Romford lift the first silverware of the 2012/13 season.
So after another week of hockey all eyes turn west and look at Cardiff once again in the early stages of the season. Can Cuddihy’s men launch a title charge? Can Armour last a full season dancing? And will the Devil Morphs get chinned before Christmas?
Congratulations also go to Romford Raiders on lifting the first trophy of the season.
Saturday 22nd September 2012
Cardiff Devils 12 – 3 Streatham Redskins
Bracknell Hornets 2 – 7 Chelmsford Chieftains
Wightlink Raiders 5 – 5 Romford Raiders (Raiders Cup)
Sunday 23rd September 2012
Milton Keynes Thunder 7 – 3 Solent & Gosport Devils
Chelmsford Chieftains 8 – 0 Streatham Redskins
Invicta Dynamos 3 – 6 Cardiff Devils
Romford Raiders 7 – 2 Wightlink Raiders (Raiders Cup)
Next week we will be launching a new segment of the Round-up featuring the best Tweets from players and fans of the NIHL South. If you want yours featured, and it is worthy, make sure you #NIHL
Contact the author david.carr@prohockeynews. com
or follow @carrsy2 on Twitter.