Raiders defenceman Cooper pleased as Tigers crowned legitimate league champions

PUBLISHED: 17:11 18 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:11 18 March 2020

Raiders defenceman Olegs Lascenko and Jack Cooper (Pic: Kev Lamb)

Raiders defenceman Olegs Lascenko and Jack Cooper (Pic: Kev Lamb)

© Lambpix

Everyone Active Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper admitted it was good to see Telford Tigers legitimately crowned National League champions before the rest of the season was cancelled due to coronavirus.

Sean Easton’s men made the trip to Telford on Sunday where they suffered a 7-3 defeat in what proved to be goalie Michael Gray’s final appearance for the club after 10 consecutive seasons.

Captain Aaron Connolly, Brandon Ayliffe, and JJ Pitchley scored the goals for the Raiders and Cooper said: “Obviously we would’ve liked to have been the team lifting the trophy, but it was good to see a team win the league legitimately and not just crowned champions because the league has been cancelled due to coronavirus.

“It’s also not every game that you get a standing ovation from the oppositions fans, so it was appreciated.

“The Telford players were all very thankful that we made the trip which is good to see in a competitive sport.”

Raiders also had to wear the Tigers home jerseys in the match after forgetting to bring their own after deciding to make the trip while most other teams in the league opted to postpone their fixtures due to Covid-19.

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Cooper, 23, added: “It was a bit of a strange game I’d say, I don’t think our minds were in the right place considering everything going on in the world at the minute.

“It was also a bit strange to be playing in the opposing teams home kit, but at least we got to play the game.”

The former Romford junior knows they were not at their best but was pleased Gray got to make one more final appearance for the Raiders – albeit in a Tigers shirt.

“We wasn’t at our best at all and Telford deserved to win, they were far the better team,” he said.

“It was good to see P-Head (Michael Gray) play his final game, just a shame it wasn’t at home with our fans.

“I’ve played alongside him for many years now and he has taught me a lot. I will miss playing with him, he’s a true club hero.”

The league cancelled play up until May 31 on Monday, but Gray is expected to be handed a testimonial for his 10 years of service for Raiders.

The date it will be played is not yet known.

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