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Power to the People

PUBLISHED: 09:14 04 March 2011

Michael Grays looks for the puck

Michael Grays looks for the puck

Archant

Long, long road in losing cause

IT’S a long trip back from the Isle of Wight when your ice hockey team hasn’t won.

And even longer when the M25 is closed and the toilet on your coach is out of order.

These are some of the fates which befell Romford Raiders and a loyal band of supporters — plus your Recorder correspondent — last weekend.

The journey to the island was not without problems either as trouble on the A3 led our driver to take the cross-country route through picturesque Arundel.

But, allied to us taking an early pit-stop due to the lack of an on-board convenience, all of that meant we missed our 3pm ferry by no more than a couple of minutes.

Setting sail on the 4pm boat instead, we arrived at the tiny Ryde ice rink with just about an hour to spare before face-off, so time enough still for the players to hurriedly get their kit on and warm-up.

And the boys in gold and blue certainly did not show any signs of panic when the Battle of the Raiders eventually got underway.

For those who have never witnessed a game at Ryde, where the rink is six metres shorter than Rom Valley Way, which is also two 
metres wider, it makes for an even faster game, with less time for players to get their heads up and work with the puck at both ends of the ice.

The goal nets are much more shallower too, allowing players to skate behind them still, and teams have to play an adapted game to have success there.

Some might argue the home team have an unfair advantage and, down the years, Wight must have an enviable win-loss record on their own patch.

But it is not impossible to win there and Romford did all they could to get a victory which would have kept the title race firmly open.

As it was, a late powerplay goal sent them to defeat, but the two sides meet again at Rom Valley Way on Sunday and Danny Marshall’s men should redress the balance.

And if it hadn’t been for those early-season losses at Cardiff, Chelmsford and at home to Streatham, who knows what might’ve happened?

Other local teams are 
coming towards the end of their seasons and there is still much to fight for.

Both our non-league football teams are on the fringe of play-off places; Romford & Gidea Park still hope for promotion on the rugby field, as Campion face a battle for survival; and many hockey teams are involved in battles at either end of the table. We’ll bring all of it to you over the next few weeks!

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