Raiders returns for Connolly, coach Easton

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly is returning for the 2022-23 season

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly is returning for the 2022-23 season - Credit: John Scott

Everyone Active Raiders have announced the return of Aaron Connolly for the 2022-23 National League season.

The club confirmed head coach Sean Easton would be back behind the bench for a sixth campaign on Friday evening, before revealing the first player on their roster.

Raiders head coach Sean Easton discuss tactics

Raiders head coach Sean Easton discuss tactics - Credit: John Scott

And 29-year-old Connolly will be in a gold and blue jersey for a fifth season, having captained the side since joining from Basingstoke in 2018.

Connolly helped Raiders qualify for the play-offs in 2018-19 and they would have done so again a year later, sitting in eighth place when the season was cut short by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

He was back on the ice with Raiders for the 12-game Spring Cup series, when matches were played behind closed doors in February and March 2021 and shown live on streaming services, then iced in the most recent season, when Raiders missed out on the play-offs by three points.

That came after the team had been deducted three points for failing to fulfil a December fixture against Swindon due to a number of positive Covid cases in their squad.

Connolly, who has scored 104 goals and 81 assists in 163 games for Raiders, said at the end of the campaign: "We have to be honest with ourselves and although we had some great games, we couldn't do this consistently enough and this was our biggest downfall.

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"We all need to carry the burden of this season and make sure we use it as fuel to improve."

Having received the club's player's player of the year award, supporters will also be pleased to see Connolly back in the side as they compete in the enlarged 11-team division, which has been boosted by the inclusion of Hull Seahawks and Bristol Pitbulls.