Raiders forward Pitchley expects 'feisty' encounters with Bees
PUBLISHED: 16:00 13 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:49 14 September 2019
Everyone Active Raiders will play Bracknell Bees back-to-back in pre-season matches this weekend to prepare themselves for the new National League campaign, writes Jacob Ranson.
Raiders will travel away to the John Nike Leisure Centre tomorrow (Saturday, 6.15pm) before returning home to the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre the following night for a 5.15pm face-off.
And forward JJ Pitchley is expecting a 'feisty' double-header after building up a rivalry with the Bees during the course of the past two seasons.
"The Raiders and Bees over the last couple of seasons have seemed to build up a very feisty and entertaining rivalry," the 25-year-old Pitchley said.
"It's a bit like the old Raiders and Chelmsford Chieftains games. Both teams want to win and 99 per cent of the time the games are fast, physical and feisty, which from a player's perspective you love to play in those games.
"We dropped out of the play-offs to them last year, so bragging rights and pride are on the table this weekend that's for sure."
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Pitchley, a former Bracknell Bees player himself, knows his old club will be organised and youthful like every season.
"Bracknell are a well-drilled team and have some young guys who are stepping up well," he added.
"It was the same when I was there for my last few years at junior. They love to develop guys young and drip them into the senior programme as soon as they are ready."
Pitchley is confident Raiders are prepared for the weekend but knows they must use it to work on things ready for the league fixtures.
"From a preparation side of things I think we're looking very focused, fit and switched on," said.
"Practices are flowing well and the chemistry is coming together. This summer has been a busy one, guys getting their summer workouts in and now we are practicing again all down the gym beforehand making sure we're as ready as ever.
"If anything it will make us see what we need to work on before the competition starts next weekend. It gives us a chance to shake the cobwebs off and get the legs going again.
"Both teams have brought in some new faces so it will be a good test for us to see how we match up and compare to a team we will be pushing for play-offs with."