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Power to the People

PUBLISHED: 13:42 19 February 2011

Romford Raiders Juraj Huska

Romford Raiders Juraj Huska

Archant

Counting down to Olympics and up to records

Excitement is starting to grow following the release of the London 2012 Olympic Games schedules this week.

With tickets due to go on sale next month as the 500-day countdown begins, we will be looking to launch some pre-Olympic coverage of our own, building up to the biggest event on earth.

We will look at various sports and individuals hoping to compete at the Games and might even try the odd event ourselves!

Most sporting enthusiasts will have a favourite Olympic memory from down the years – who could ever forget Sir Steve Redgrave’s record-breaking fifth gold?

And the Games are a great chance to enjoy and wonder at the dedication, hard work and commitment of sportsmen and women from all corners of the globe.

If any readers out there have special Olympic stories to tell, please do get in touch!

Records will be broken, undoubtedly, at the 2012 Games. And (on a somewhat lesser scale!) there was a host of ‘personal bests’ set on the Rom Valley Way ice last weekend.

Romford Raiders player-coach Danny Marshall is no stranger to setting a record – boasting a long list of them from his 16 and a bit seasons in gold and blue – and the 33-year-old added another in the mauling of Swindon Wildcats.

A tally of four goals and seven assists in the 23-2 romp allowed Marshall to beat the record he had held jointly with Bill Rawles for ‘Most points scored in a league game by a British player’ and linemate Juraj Huska wrote his name into the history books with a 12-point (8+4) haul which matched the efforts of Marc Chartier and Gord Jeffrey some 23 years earlier!

Critics claim such games are bad for the sport, but blowouts like last week’s do not come around too often. Raiders had not passed the 20-goal mark for more than a decade, after all.

When Jeffrey and Chartier were introducing hockey to the people of Romford in the late 1980s, such totals were almost the norm.

Raiders have hit double figures five times this season, three of them against Swindon (Bristol and Streatham are the others).

And while some may still pine for the higher quality of player on show in the EPL, where Raiders suffered a series of heavy defeats last season, the more financially viable ENL appears Romford’s best bet for the time being.

Marshall has built a squad that is showing plenty of team spirit and has now won 11 league games in a row.

A winning team is more likely to attract new fans and Raiders are certainly that at the moment, with a pair of massive games against their namesakes from the Isle of Wight coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Beyond that, there are whispers of a possible shake-up to the structure of the sport this summer.

There remains quite a big gap between top and bottom in all three tiers: Sheffield Steelers top the Elite League with 73 points, while bottom club Edinburgh have just 15; Manchester enjoy a 50-point advantage over Telford in the EPL; while the Isle of Wight are 44 points clear of Swindon in ENL Division 1.

So it might just be the nature of the beast. Not every game can be a nail-biting, edge of your seat thriller, no matter what league your team are playing in.

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