December 10 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 13, 2013
A guide to the other teams in National League Division One
As London (nee Romford) Raiders embark on a new National League Division One campaign this weekend, SAM PARK takes a look at their rivals:
Bracknell: Finishing sixth out of nine teams last season the Hornets are not hotly tipped to do much better or worse in the coming season. Slovakian import Peter Jasik is due to return along with Canadian Matthew Ovenden who took a year out of the game last season. Both are expected to chip in points but they got most mileage out of player-coach Danny Hughes last season and great support from talented Brits Tom Fisher and Carl Thompson, who also broke the point-per-game mark. Have signed Invicta duo David Wride in goal and pugilist Brad Watchorn to try and tighten up at the back and offer extra toughness.
Cardiff: Fifth last year and won their first two matches of the new season against Solent last weekend. Rely on being able to move their young home-grown talent up and down between their South One, South Two and Elite League sides. Did a bit of a straight swap with Streatham with James Warman and American Sean Scarborough heading to South London and Phil Manny and Steve Balmer going the other way. Watch out for the great young talent moving up from their Championship winning under-18s. Cardiff can upset any team on the night because lets face it, everybody hates a Sunday night face off at 7pm in Wales.
Chelmsford: Last year’s champions and still Raiders bitter rivals. Their juniors have profited best from Romford’s demise but those players will be too young to really make an impact at this level. Packed full of local talent, they snapped up former Raiders captain Julian Smith and top British Forward Matt Turner as a like for like replacement for released home town hero and skilful scorer Danny Hammond. Last year’s top scoring import Julius Sinkovic has moved to France, so returning giant defenceman Tibor Schnieder will be partnered by experienced Czech Daniel Volrab, who iced in the EPL two seasons ago for the Basingstoke Bison, bagging more than a point a game.
Invicta: Fourth last year but it looks like the team who had it all their own way in this division for so many years may be back in the ascendency as head coach Kev Parrish has had a big summer on the recruitment front. Experienced former Raiders goalie Chris Douglas has joined from Bracknell but their real improvment has been in attack. Daniel Hammond is a great addition from Chelmsford, bettered only by the new import duo of Juraj Huska and Jakub Klima. Huska piled up impressive numbers for Raiders and no reason why he cannot again in Gillingham, while there was much talk last year about Klima’s talent being wasted outside of the ‘Big Four’ at Streatham last season.
Milton Keynes: Second from bottom last year, the Thunder have not made great strides on the recruitment front over the summer. Will rely on Latvian import Maksims Pektruks, but he’s not expected to light the league up. Harrison Goode is their other established threat, but watch out for young Alex Whyte, the former Peterborough junior and GB under-18 international is probably only making a short stop on his way to the EPL Lightning squad.
Solent: Basement boys last year, likely basement boys this year. Stand half a chance at home on their half-sized ice rink, but anyone that drops points against the Devils has problems. Out of their depth with no imports and little to aid the stickhandling skills of Kent Johnson and captain Kris Abbott. Alex Murray returns to his junior club after playing for Wightink for the last five seasons, but there’s no guarantee his extra points will lift them off the foundations of the table.
Streatham: Seventh last season, but previously accustomed to being the second best team in this division for many years, the Redksins could break into the ‘Big Four’ this year if they get it right. They need new import Sean Scarborough to replace and hopefully better Jakub Klima’s scoring record and will have to get more mileage out of Slovakian Michael Oravec. Their young Brits will have to perform and goalie Will Sanderson will have to stand on his head every game if they’re to usurp Raiders or Wightlink this year.
Wightlink: Needless to say Danny Marshall’s Raiders have unfinished business with Jeremy Cornish’s outfit. The island Raiders buried Romford’s hopes and dreams in the last ever action at Rom Valley Way last season, and in controversial fashion at that. Last year’s league and play-off runners-up have added Canadian Matt Vizzari and late bloomer Steven Osman for added attacking threat, but their pinball machine rink, superb goalie Matt Colclough and a solid defence will be their trademark again.
Christine Ohuruogu and Mo Farah have been nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.