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London Raiders land Smith coup

PUBLISHED: 14:26 28 May 2016 | UPDATED: 18:15 28 May 2016

Julian Smith keeps a close eye on Seb Downing during a meeting between Chelmsford and Raiders last season (pic: John Scott)

Julian Smith keeps a close eye on Seb Downing during a meeting between Chelmsford and Raiders last season (pic: John Scott)

Archant

Defenceman returns to club ranks after successful spell at Chelmsford

London Raiders have pulled off something of a signing coup by persuading Julian Smith to join for the 2016/17 National League season.

Defenceman Smith made 144 appearances for the Raiders while they were still playing in Romford, scoring 11 goals and 79 assists and helping them to a league and cup double under former player-coach Danny Marshall.

Smith, who played for Great Britain under-18s and under-20s earlier in his career, then joined Essex rivals Chelmsford and has helped the Chieftains win a host of trophies in the past three campaigns, including a quadruple last term.

Speaking of his return to a gold and blue jersey, Smith said: “I’m really excited to be returning to the Raiders.

“I have already been able to clock up three seasons with them previously and I am now looking forward to adding to my time with the club and pulling on the jersey again.

“It is obvious the season is going to be full of new and exciting challenges which has certainly motivated me to ensure I’m ready to jump in head first and help the team compete.”

Lee Valley-based Raiders, having finished eighth in the past two seasons and lost to Smith’s Chelmsford in the play-offs last season, believe the addition of the experienced blueliner will be a major boost to the team as part of the year-on-year plans for their return to Romford for the 2018/19 season.

A club statement said: “Since Julian dropped from the EPL he has always managed to appear in a successful team and we are sure that we and he are not planning on that changing this year.

“He is a no-nonsense, physical defenceman and reads the game well, leading to a good number of assists.

“We are certainly looking forward to seeing his influence this coming season.”

The arrival of Smith sees him line up alongside goalie Michael Gray, captain Tom Davis and import Kamil Kinkor as confirmed signings.

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