London Raiders add Smith and Baldock to their roster
PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 June 2017
London Raiders have announced the re-signing of defenceman of the year Julian Smith and addition of bright young prospect Ollie Baldock for the 2017/18 season, writes Jacob Ranson.
The Lee Valley-based club welcome back Smith, who has made 177 appearances in the gold and blue jersey, scoring 12 goals and 90 assists in his two stints at the club.
The 30-year-old said: “I’m really happy to be returning to the Raiders for a second season, but my fifth in total.
“A return was always on the cards, but when I got news that Sean Easton was going to be the coach it made it a much easier decision.
“He’s a great coach and I think with him in charge we will become a more technical team.”
A Great Britain under-18 and under-20 international earlier in his career, Smith left the Raiders originally to join Essex rivals Chelmsford Chieftains and helped them win a host of trophies during a three-year spell, including a quadruple in 2015/16.
The former Peterborough Phantoms player then decided to rejoin the Raiders last summer and is ‘excited’ by the look of the team for the coming season.
“I’m excited by the team that is being put together, I think we will have better depth this season with some great two-way players like Matty Turner,” he added.
“The kids like Jake (Sylvester), Brandon (Ayliffe) and Ollie (Baldock) that are coming in have proven themselves and they will be a thorn in the side of other teams.”
Joining Smith on the Raiders roster is forward Baldock, who joins from rivals Chelmsford Chieftains, having played his whole career at the club.
Baldock made 28 league appearances for the Chieftains last term, notching nine goals and 22 assists for 31 points and says he ‘can’t wait’ to get started on a new challenge next season.
The 19-year-old said: “I can’t wait to get into the gold and blue, having played for Chelmsford my whole career, I feel like I am ready for a new start.
“Playing for a club that has such history and pride will be a great honour and I hope to assist the club’s climb to the top for the seasons to come.”
The youngster is also thrilled at the challenge on the new league format.
“I’m really looking forward to the new challenge ahead, playing in the EPL was always my career goal, so with the league changing, I am able to complete my goal and begin my career as a senior player.”