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Raiders’ Beesley buzzing to face former club Bracknell in play-off quarter-final tie

PUBLISHED: 11:30 16 March 2018

London Raiders forward Thomas Beesley (middle) celebrates a goal with his team-mates (Pic: John Scott)

London Raiders forward Thomas Beesley (middle) celebrates a goal with his team-mates (Pic: John Scott)

Archant

London Raiders forward Thomas Beesley is keen to progress past former club Bracknell Bees in the National League play-off quarter-finals this weekend.

The Romford-based club finished their campaign by landing fourth spot and now face the fifth-placed Bees in the first round of the post-season.

They will travel to Berkshire to play Scott Spearing’s men at the John Nike Leisure Centre on Saturday (6pm) – after losing 6-1 on their last trip – before welcoming their opponents to the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre the following night (5.15pm).

Beesley said: “As a former Bracknell player, it’s nice to see the club playing well as I played pretty much all my juniors there, but I’m a Raiders player now so I obviously I want us to advance to the next round and have a shot at making it to the finals weekend in Coventry.”

The 20-year-old believes the Bees experience could help them, but is still confident his side can progress into the semi-finals.

“Bracknell in the last decade has had a swell of experienced guys, so it will be interesting to see if that aids them in post-season hockey against our mixture of youth, but I feel if we really push together we can advance.

“As a whole for the club it would be a great achievement to advance to the next round and surpass a former EPL team not only in the league but also the play-offs. I think it’ll act as a platform to boost the club to future success.”

The former Bracknell youngster, who made 58 appearances for the Bees, hopes the expected sell-out crowd at their new home in the second leg can spur them on, adding: “A noisy Romford crowd is always nice and acts as a seventh man on the ice. Playing with an atmosphere is always fun.”

The Greenwich University student also admitted they must be wary of what his former side offer and pin-pointed Shaun and Carl Thompson as many threats.

“I think the guys we’ll have to be wary of is the Thompson brothers, they link up well on the power play and they’re both clinical round the net,” he added.

“In addition the bulk of their experienced players such as ‘Gazza’ (James Galazzi), Scott Spearing and ‘Foordy’ (Matt Foord) all know how to play the game with an edge, so it will be interesting to see that in the post-season.”

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