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Pitchley starting to plan for next season as easy-going import duo extend contracts

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 January 2020

Vilius Krakauskas attacks for Raiders (pic Nikki Day)

Vilius Krakauskas attacks for Raiders (pic Nikki Day)

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Romford Junior Raiders head coach Ben Pitchley has made early moves for the 2020/21 season by extending the contracts of imports Jan Marcilis and Vilius Krakauskas.

Jan Marcilis attacks for Raiders (pic Nikki Day)Jan Marcilis attacks for Raiders (pic Nikki Day)

The pair have made a big impression for the National League Division One South side during the first half of the current campaign, with Marcilis winning the player of the month award for December.

The Czech forward has netted 30 goals in 20 games, adding 10 assists, while Lithuanian Krakauskas also has 40 points (19 goals, 21 assists) from 25 games.

Pitchley said: "In all my years of playing and coaching hockey I've never come across such a pair of easy going, low maintenance imports.

"They come to play every game, have put together good numbers, and have brought the development of our young players along perfecty.

"With Jan picking up the league's player of the month in December, other teams are going to be looking at them, so we acted swiftly with contract extensions for the pair of them."

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The double signing boost comes after Raiders began the new year with defeat against Invicta Dynamos at Gillingham on Sunday.

Sam Austin put them ahead with the only goal of the opening period and set up Matt Brown to restore their advantage after Tom Banovsky had levelled for the home side.

But Banovsky struck again just 45 seconds later and Invicta then scored three times in just over two minutes to take control, before Marcilis made it 5-3.

Dynamos added three more goals either side of the second break, with the influential Banovsky finishing with four to his name in an 8-4 victory.

Pitchley admitted: "We just had a lack of concentration for 10 minutes and got punished by their new import."

Raiders return to the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre to play host to bottom club MK Thunder on Saturday (5.15pm), before travelling up the A12 to take on Essex rivals Chelmsford on Sunday (6.30pm).

And Pitchley says his young squad know what to do, adding: "MK on Saturday, we know how they play, so we need to stay out of the box and let our power play do its thing.

"Chelmsford, it's our third game against them, and we need to be able to contain their scorers better than we have done in the previous games."

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