PROGRAMME ISSUE 4
04 OCTOBER 2015
fter the exciting start to the Tigers match with three goals in as many minutes I think it’s fair to say that we were all expecting a flood of goals and double figure results. Tigers took an early time out and the match changed very quickly and significantly for Telford, Who wouldn’t have liked to have heard the conversation from Sutton’s bench? Some of our players were very disappointed with their own personal performances as they are still working towards full match fitness but a win is a win and the #invincibles march on. n contrast the match versus Sutton Sting we watched a far more confident Hawks team on the front foot for the whole of the match. Some great fluid team play and some exceptional individual plays saw Adam Brittle scoring after seven minutes to raise the roof on the nest. Addy went on to score again to end with a brace of goals and Aaron joined Addy on two goals also. David Meikle also got on the score sheet with a deflected puck but they all count. The result could be easily seen in the stats for this game where the Hawks made 76 shots on goal against Sutton’s 34 awks sit in second place in the Moralee conference table with three wins from three games. Whitley are the league leaders with 7 points and three wins and one draw. Spartans sit in fourth with two wins and two losses. ets keep the #invincible run going tonight with lots of #90 fan support for our Blackburn Hawks from the fans. The more you scream the more they score!!! #COYH
PLEASE SPARE A THOUGHT
You pay your entrance fee and walk into the arena. As soon as you open the door you see the supporters club table where Esther, Gillian, Donna and Jade are there waiting to serve you. They are selling goods and services on behalf of the team and sorting out travel arrangements for our fans so that we can boost our fan base for every away match. ‘100%’ of the tables profits go directly back into the pot; helping players to purchase essential replacement equipment or kit as required. The team play in an amateur league and as such are not paid to play nor do they have any of their kit funded. This is why the sale of merchandise is so important as anything you purchase from the supporters table is directly helping to support the Hawks. Dawn Veer is sorting out the cash float while Carl Everitt unpacks a delivery for the Supporters club table. As Face off time approaches you can see Mark Kinder and Miek Harris, our team manager and assistant manager heading around to the bench with water bottles, towels, bags of ice for injuries and first aid items. They are preparing the bench for the players who will soon be out on the ice for a warm up, Chris Arnone our players representative has a list of essential items of worn out kit for the SC to try to help replace, if not the players will just have to buy it themselves. Look behind the Supporters Club table and Kieanna Jackson our goal judge will be setting up in position, Chris Scott is positioned at the other end of the arena. As you make your way to your seat you may even stop to have a selfie with Harry the Hawk who is always happy to pose for photos with fans and give them a massive hug. Nick Riley, our equipment manager (featured in last week’s programme) whizzes past with some tape or a screwdriver ready to fix something ‘MacGyver’ would be proud. He has left his assistant Joseph Milton behind drying gloves in a nice safe place. You are getting close to the DJ booth now but look up to the gods first and there you see Jonny Comber, Jess and Craig Bevington, they will be setting up ready to record the video highlights, and no doubt chatting about who they will be interviewing next Thursday night before Hawks late night training at 11:00pm. Exactly opposite them across the arena sit Chris Riley and Steve Mayers, both chatting about the last match in great detail as
they get ready to pen their excellent match reports. In the DJ’s booth is Oz, he’s testing audio equipment and boogying along to the music with Kayleigh Harris who is getting her score sheet ready and Stefanie Harris who is in charge of the game clock. Dean Worrall and Brian Harrison are waiting by their respective penalty boxes and chatting to Jeen Harrison about their sharing a room in their home with one of our imports Rjay and Nick Riley and Vikky who kindly share their home with Kim our other import. Waiting patiently for the warm up to start. Dean (Rambo) Worrall is holding the smoke machine like a rail gun that he will be firing towards the defenceless players and anyone else within his firing range, oh how he loves his job. As you head up the steps to your seats there is David Comber and Stewart Cunliffe both ready to post to Facebook, twitter and our official Hawks App. with updated live game information for those who can’t make it to the match. NIHL Radio is being setup too as we have someone from the opposing team that is prepared to take up the microphone for this game. Ella Thornton, Steve Pollitt and John Milton are getting their camera kit ready to catch all the action so that you can relive those moments that you would surely miss as you eat your hot-dogs, drink your beer and chat to yur friends sat around you. John is relieved that the programme had made it to it’s deadline with minutes to spare and after being proof read by Gillian Havelock is now printed out and available to purchase at various places around the arena. Ian Havelock is busy organising his media team, getting kit setup and answering the many questions thrown at him by everyone. Graham Lomax is sorting out the mascots and reminiscing with them about the time when Ollie was ‘VERY’ small and a mascot at a game somewhere, sometime, and how very proud he is of him. Everyone listed here gives their time freely to enhance ‘your’ experience of the game. All should be applauded that they do what they do for the club that they love, and not for any monetary rewards. There are many others who work in the background for our club. It’s a fantastic offering from ordinary supporters to help the team and you get a very nice warm feeling inside. Studies show long term volunteers have better health and well being too, who knew? John Milton
4 PROGRAMME CONTENTS
A DAY IN THE LIFE
BUDZIE’S REVIEW OF OUR LAST MATCH VS. SUTTON STING. AS USUAL AN INTRODUCTION TO TONIGHT’S VISITING TEAM SHEFFIELD SPARTANS. SPARTANS ARE IN THIRD PLACE IN THE LEAGUE RIGHT NOW. WILL THEY MAKE WAVES TONIGHT?
ESTHER GRADWELL TELLS US TONIGHT HOW HER SMALL TEAM AND HERSELF GO ABOUT SOURCING AND SELLING THE MERCHANDISE ON THE OFFICIAL SUPPORTERS CLUB TABLE THAT DIRECTLY SUPPORTS OUR HAWKS. IT’S NO ONE WOMAN SHOW - PAGE 10
31. MATCH REPORT
VOLUNTEERS FEATURE HEAVILY THIS
CHRIS RILEY WRITES THIS WEEKS RE-
ISSUE. DID YOU REALISE THERE WERE SO
PORT RELIVE THE MOMENT OF THE
MATCH PAGE 31
33. CHANGING TIMES
A LOOK AT THE CAREER OF FORMER
GRAHAM LOMAX GIVES US A HISTORY
HAWKS CAPTAIN AND LEGEND SIMON
LESSON AND THEN A LOOK INTO THE
FUTURE. HE;S A MAN OF MANY HATS IS
INFOGRAPHICS OF TABLES ANDSOME
33. RESULTS & FIXTURES
STATS IN EASY TO UNDERSTAND GRAPH-
BACK PAGE IS WHERE YOU CAN SEE ALL
OF OUR RESULTS AND FIXTURES.
29. ICE HOCKEY REVIEW ROUND UP FROM LAST WEEKS GOINGS ON IN THE NORTHERN LEAGUES
5 PROGRAMME CONTENTS
EX. HAWKS CAPTAIN SIMON MILLS A LEGEND OF THE OLD BLACKBURN HAWKS. PAUL BREEZE OF ICE HOCKEY REVIEW TELLS US ALL ABOUT SIMON’S CONTRIBUTION AND CAREER. READ ALL ABOUT SIMON’S STORY ON PAGE 14
MAX GIVES US THE LATEST LOW DOWN AS HE IS OUT AND ABOUT WITH THE HAWKS. SOME SWINGS & ROUNDABOUTS
CAPS COLUMN EVERY WEEK CHRIS ARNONE POSTS HIS ANALYSIS AND THOUGHTS ON OUR MOST RECENT MATCHES IN THE LANCASHIRE TELEGRAPH. THE PAGE IS UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY SO HEAD ON OVER THERE TO READ UP ON THE MATCH REPORT FROM OUR FIRST LEAGUE MATCH AT BILLINGHAM. CHRIS’S ARTICLE IS USUALLY POSTED QUITE QUICKLY ON OUR OFFICIAL WEBSITE, FACEBOOK, SUPPORTERS PAGE AND ON OUR TEAM APP. YOU CAN ALSO BUY THE LANCASHIRE TELEGRAPH ON TUESDAY AND READ IT THERE.
Programme design content and Cover photo ‘Matt Vinney’ by John Milton (www.eventog.uk) Articles provided by Paul Breeze, Daniel Mackriel, Graham Lomax, Esther Gradwell, Chris Riley and John Milton. Thanks go to Esther Gradwell, Gillian and Ian Havelock from our supporters club for their outstanding continuing help in the background. Special thanks must go to Mark Halliwell and his team for the massive amount of unseen work behind the scenes. Also we would like to thank Jo Lees, Annette Wellbank and Kath McEvoy for their many years raising funds at the old supporters table #hockeyfamily
DANIEL MACKRIEL SEEMS TO BE HAPPY WITH OUR RECENT TEAM PERFORMANCE AGAINST THE LAST HOME OPPONENTS SUTTON STING - TEAM BLACKBURN HAWKS WILL BE FACING THE SHEFFIELD SPARTANS AND LOOKING TO PROTECT THEIR 100% RECORD. CAN THE SPARTANS ‘UNLEASH HELL?’ SO FAR THEY HAVE PLAYED SIX, WON THREE AND LOST THREE. HERE IS BUDZIE’S INTRO AND HIS VIEWS ON TONIGHT’S MATCH Tonight we welcome Sheffield Spartans to Blackburn in which we hope the team, officials and supporters have a safe all round journey to and from Lancashire. The Spartans were a bit of a thorn in our side last year season and we are all expecting them to be even stronger this season. They have added quality to compliment their core group and have retained the majority of last year’s squad. Losing Jonathan Kirk will be a loss but I am sure the replacements they have will help void the gap. The coach Martin White has stayed at the helm and he is someone I know well having being his assistant for the Midlands U17’s team many moons ago. Martin is a very good coach, one I get on with and is someone that I have a lot of respect for. He will definitely have his team fired up for tonight. On the playing side, Ollie Barron is always dangerous, Sheffield’s D keep things simple and solid and they are backstopped by a very very good keeper in Brandon Stones. The family rivalry between the Brittle’s tonight continues with the Spartans icing Stuart and of course we have Adam and Daniel. Stuart is another top end
British forward. He would make any team in this league, is always amongst the points and certainly one we need to keep a close eye on! We had last weekend off which was a nice break but now we see the fixtures coming in thick and fast. In our last game against the Sting, I thought that the performance was a lot better, the tempo was higher and should have been more than 5-0. Their keeper played a blinder in fairness but I still think we need to capitalise on these chances more. At the back I thought we looked solid. I didn’t think we were under too much pressure and when they did have chances Stu was there capping his first league start with a Shut Out. We still have a way to go before we hit top gear but the signs are promising, the players are working hard and smart. Tonight will be another tough test but if we put in the right performance, apply what is needed then who knows! Make some noise and enjoy the game!
MARTIN WHITE IS LOOKING FOR AN OVERDUE WIN FROM HIS SPARTANS. HISTORY SHOWS US THAT THE SPARTANS SQUAD GAVE THE HAWKS THEIR BIGGEST SCARE LAST SEASON WHERE FOR A FEW NAIL BITING MINUTES WE THOUGHT WE HAD LOST OUR INVINCIBILITY MARTIN TALKS ABOUT HIS DISAPPOINTMENT IN THE OFFICIALS ON THAT DAY AND HOW HIS LADS ARE NOT JUST HERE TO MAKE UP THE NUMBERS We’ve got off to an inconsistent start this season, which is not what we’d targeted before the opening fixtures. A decent opening weekend saw us beat our sister team the Senators over a double-header weekend, this was followed by a loss to Billingham through a lack of finishing and shared points with Sutton last weekend. We’d hoped for 4 wins from our first 5 games so we’re a bit off track at present, and it’s purely down to inconsistent finishing and unforced defensive errors. We’ll be looking to improve our overall play over the next few weekends, but there are no easy games in the league this season and form will be hard to get back once it slips. With the addition of two imports for 2015/16 we’re looking to kick on from last seasons play-off appearance and we’ve set ourselves a target of 4th place as a minimum. We’re under no illusions as to the difficultly of this task, but with a stronger squad depth than previous seasons we’re confident we’ll rise to the challenge and know that we need to get back to wining ways as soon as possible and then string together results against all teams for what will be a tight end to the season. We’re capable of playing good passing
hockey and once we start to finish the chances we create and cut out the unforced errors we’ll be a match for anyone regardless of how big their operating budgets are. Games against Blackburn are usually tight, and last season we felt we were the biggest threat to the Hawk’s unbeaten record being in winning positions three times but being unable to hold on to the hard fought leads on two occasions in Blackburn, and being down right robbed by the officials on the last league meeting at ice Sheffield. That said we didn’t get the job done and credit must go to Blackburn for a fantastic unbeaten season, taking the title and securing the play-off title as well. With the departure of Luke Brittle and Jared Owen I think some quarters may have seen Blackburn as being weaker this season, if so they are underestimating Budzie and the re-jigged Hawks. Danny is a quality coach and the Hawks will be a tough prospect home or away all season long, they’re my favorites to take the title again this season although we’ll be doing our best to pick up what we believe to be long overdue points vs Blackburn. Martin White
10 DAYIN THE LIFE
A DAY IN THE LIFE
ESTHER GRADWELL: MERCHANDISE MANAGER
WE ARE SPOILT TO HAVE OUR GOLDEN GIRLS RUNNING THE MERCHANDISE TABLE TO RAISE MUCH NEEDED FUNDS FOR THE TEAM. TODAY WE ASK ESTHER GRADWELL JUST WHAT HER DAY ENTAILS. ESTHER TOOK OVER RUNNING THE SUPPORTERS CLUB TABLE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON AFTER HELPING OUT FOR THE PAST EIGHTEEN MONTHS. HERE IS HER DAY Four seasons ago we were invited to come down to watch the Hawks. I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t even tell you who they were playing**, but it’s safe to say that John, Jade, Joe and I were hooked. Who wouldn’t be, these lads shed blood sweat and tears week after week throughout the season for the love of the game and our entertainment. They’re just a great bunch of lads! After a couple of years I decided I wanted to give something back, and volunteered to help out with the Supporters Stand with Annette Jo and Cath. To be able to bring in much needed funds to help the lads is so rewarding. As all profits go towards buying equipment for the team. It’s a great feeling knowing I’m doing my bit and have so much fun in the process!
Esther on the SC table Photo John Milton (eventog.uk) Working with Annette, Jo and Cath was a great experience for me, they’ve supported the team right back from the beginning, and I loved hearing all the stories from over the years while we stood together and watched what we could of the match, all of us shouting the lads on and awaiting the rush of fans after a period would end. I
**Whitley Warriors, last league match of the season 1st April 2012 *JM)
11 DAYIN THE LIFE was surprised to hear that they had decided to retire, but it was an absolutely massive honour when they recommended that I should take over the reins. It’s been a very busy time since the Mohawks and Hawks F5 evolved into to the new Blackburn Hawks Supporters Club, looking at all the different suppliers, taking suggestions on board and coming up with some new ideas for the official Hawks supporters club merchandise. With some help from Carl Everett and Ian and Gillian Havelock we have set about carefully selecting suppliers that can offer items that will be of excellent quality and keenly priced. We feel that although it has been slow to appear we do feel that the wait will be worthwhile and the goods will be very well received by our knowledgeable supporters and fan base. Match day is pretty much a blur for everyone. I arrive at the arena at around 3pm and start by setting up the tables, getting the Tombola ready, laying out the stock, and discussing the days plan of action with the rest of our merch team Jade, Gillian and Donna. Once the If you would like to join the SC team and help out there are several ways that you can get involved. If you are in a position to, please come over to see us at the supporters club table for a little chat, no experience is required just enthusiasm, alternatively you can fill in the form on the SC website at http://blackburnhawks.club/contact/ It really is very rewarding to be part of such a great team
doors open, it’s all go, the kids love to come over to the table hoping to win a treat on the Tombola, people trying their luck on the shirt card, which is very popular and fans of all ages buying scarves, hats, hoodies, badges and more to raise as much money as we possibly can for new equipment to keep the boys on top of their game. The merchandise is available before the game starts and at the end of the first and second period. After this its all packed away into storage again until the next home match after everything is put away we cash up. I can’t remember the last time I ever caught the third period, hence why I try to get to as many away games as possible to relax with the kids and watch the game! I’d actually like to say a massive thank you to Annette and Jo for giving me the opportunity and recommending me for the role of Merchandise Manager also to Jade, Gillian and Donna for their help on the table, we are a great team and we all get on so well together. And especially to all the fans for coming to the table, and making it all worthwhile.
14 REWIND OLDSCHOOL
WE CONTINUE THE REWIND SERIES NOW WITH HAWKS LEGEND SIMON MILLS Simon Mills is very much a legend in the annals of grass roots ice hockey. Unlike some of the other players we are featuring in this series, he has never played at the “highest” level of the British game. There are no senior GB appearances on his record although playing ability has nothing whatsoever to do with that. It just happens that his emergence coincided with the BIHA’s decision to pack the GB team with reclassified imports which, briefly, lifted Team GB to the dizzy heights of World Championships Pool A but also meant that many talented home grown youngsters missed out on the international opportunities they might have had 5 years earlier. Simon came through the junior ranks at Altrincham Aces who have produced so many great British players over the years. During the
1960s and early 70s Altrincham was one of the few ice rinks in the country to stage competitive ice hockey and the Aces won league titles in the 70s and early 80s. Already a veteran of over 80 British League games with the then Trafford Metros, 19 year-old Simon joined the Hawks for the 1994/95 British League Division One season. He achieved considerable success during the high-spending Rocky Saganiuk and Ryan Kummu period and - to his credit - remained with the Hawks when they dropped into the lower budget Northern Premier League post 1996. In all, Simon played almost 200 games for the Blackburn Hawks over 5 seasons, picking up 97 points which is not bad for a defenceman. He returned to play
for Altrincham Aces in the English League for 4 more seasons and then, after 6 years away from the game, came back for 5 more seasons with the Trafford Metros in ENL N1 – captaining the side in the 11/12 season. He last played competitively for the Manchester Minotaurs - where he played 5 games in the 2013/14 season. Looking back at his time with Blackburn, Simon said: “I wanted the opportunity to play, and Blackburn was a team that was always brave in icing youngsters, whereas Altrincham / Storm were always more likely to play the imports nearly all night long. Whether it was Mo, Stokesy, Rocky or Ryan we always had a strong group of young Brits getting regular ice time.
It was always awe inspiring, and very impressive playing in front of the big crowds, but I was more impressed with the job Ryan Kummu did with the Hawks coming second in the League to a team loaded with imports, as were most of the teams below us.” With over 400 senior appearances to his name over a 23 year period, Simon Mills is definitely worthy of the title “legend”. And from his performance in the 25th Anniversary game, he still wouldn’t look out of place on an NIHL roster today! Note: Simon’s brother - Chris Mills - a long term Altrincham Ace, played 3 games for the Hawks during the 1994/95 season. Their nephew Mason Howard was a Manchester Phoenix junior and made his senior debut for the all-new Altrincham Aces in the Laidler Conference this season.
Simon Mills as a Trafford Metro (Photo by Steve Pollitt)
Bottom Simon Mills at the Legends game in April. John Milton (eventog.uk)
Blackburn Hawks Sunday 04th October - Face Off: 5:45
SCORING Time Type
TONIGHTâ€™S Ben Adshead & FINAL PERIOD SCORES HAWKS SPARTANS
VS Sheffield Spartans League Game - Blackburn Ice Arena
No. Name A C
Brandon James Stones
Michael Robert Mawer
SCORING Time Type
Jacob Brownlie SCORE
20 INFO GRAPHICS
HAWKS 5 - 0 STING
21 STEVE POLLITT
22 REMAIN CALM Ice Hockey can be a passionate sport to watch. Sometimes supporters can be taken over by the moment and can let their feelings be expressed loudly to all those around them. At the Arena we have supporters of all ages who come to our matches including many young children and we would ask that you please consider this before shouting out any vulgar language in front of supporters who do not wish to hear this. Please just enjoy the match and..
23 BE ALERT
FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PUCK AT ALL TIMES
THE PUCK CAN AND WILL LEAVE THE ICE AND FLYING PUCKS CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS
SEND IN YOUR WORK
Calling all budding news hounds and artists! Would you like to see your own work on the website or in the match-day programme? We are looking for contributions from YOU that will feature in some of our media on the Website or in the Programme. Do you have a burning question you would like one of the players to answer? Are you artistic? Submit your photos or artwork. Are you good with words and have a Hawks related story to share? If you would like to see your work published then get busy and submit your news items now. All items must be YOUR OWN WORK and must not have been previously published anywhere else. Please submit your items to our website at the link below. Or you can pick up a sheet at the supporters table. http://blackburnhawks.club/submit
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MAX’S MUSINGS Max Drakeley: #44
I asked Max Drakeley last week if he would be willing to write a regular column for us here at Hawks Programme. I think everyone wants to get a feel of what it’s like to be right there on the front line with the Hawks, whether training, before or after a game, we want to hear about all the preparation, the gossip and more seriously the way that the Hawks get in the zone before coming out on the ice in front of their fans. Max has agreed and I hope that this will give us all a small insight into some off ice real life exploits of the Hawks
Well we’re in a great position, victors in 3/3 league games add to the comfortable wins in the preseason games, retaining confidence in the run up to some intensive double headers over the coming weeks. Morale in the camp is obviously high, which shows in the dressing room and hopefully translates into performances on the ice. Helped by lack of injuries we have been able to maintain consistent lines during games and whilst training so it certainly feels like we’re gelling as a team at the moment. Not only does this raise the competition but also allows us to work on specific systems like powerplays and penalty kills, which are essential units to develop in a physical league like ours. Fingers crossed we can continue with this run of form for a long time to come.
Intro to the new boys As new boys to the team, everyone has settled in very well. RJay made his presence known very early on with that ridiculous backhand top shelf goal from his knees in Billingham. Although he looks to be a great player, you wouldn’t trust him behind the wheel of a car, as adapting to manual gearboxes and tackling English rounda-
bouts aren’t his strong points at all. Polly (Lee Pollitt) has shown his talent on and off the ice, making a very good impression with some of the female supporters of the club… There’s plenty of hope him and Ben Simister will keep contributing with the points up front this year. Ben’s work rate is almost unrivalled in the team, although his scouse dialect proved difficult for communication with Kim at first. Our resident Fin has proven himself to be agile both on the ice and in the bars… His quick feet give him plenty of room to play the puck from defence and helps clear the dance floor when he’s letting his hair down. Finally, Meikle is delighted to have Andy “backhand sauce” Dunn around to increase the ginger contingent in the team. Dunny is a solid no nonsense D man who really compliments Chris’ aggressive style of play, and as long as he keeps his stick in his hands (and not in the stands) he’ll be a great asset to the team this year. Since a brief introduction doesn’t paint the full picture, feel free to tackle us in the bar after the game if you fancy knowing any more. Cheers,
Whitley Warriors remain top of the Moralee Conference after a 5-4 home win over Telford Tigers. They had led 3-0 after two periods but 3 straight goals from the visitors left the Warriors needing to dig deep and they made sure of the win with a PPG from Ben Richards on 57.25. 24 hours earlier, the Tigers had picked up their first win of the season with 6-3 home win over Solway Sharks with last season’s Laidler Conference top scorer James Smith hitting 4+2. The Sharks’ away day blues continued on Sunday when they lost 5-4 away to Solihull Barons, giving the Midlands side their first win of the season. With 3 Moralee teams playing their home games at ice Sheffield this season, there was always going to be lot tension in the Steel City and last weekend saw back to back encounters between Sutton Sting and Sheffield Spartans. Sting beat Spartans 7-5 in their “home” game on Saturday and Spartans got the revenge the next night with a very tense 1-0 victory - the only goal of the game coming from Michael Mawer on a 5-3 powerplay at 17.17. That win moves the Spartans back up into 3rd place with 6 points from their 5 games so far, level with Blackburn Hawks who didn’t have a game at the weekend. The Warriors lead the table with 9 points from 5 games.
In the Laidler Conference, Deeside Dragons remain top after a 1-11 win away at Blackburn Eagles on Saturday. The Dragons remain the only team in the Laidler with a 100% record from their 4 games to date. Nottingham Lions beat Hull Jets 6-2 to leapfrog them into second place and Widnes Wild remain 4th after a 6-1 over struggling Coventry Blaze. The Eagles hit back on Sunday night to win 2-3 away at Altrincham Aces and they join Widnes on 6 points from 4 games in a comfortable mid-table position. Altrincham Aces picked up their first win of the season with 1-6 win away at Coventry Blaze. The Blaze remain pointless with 5 defeats from their 5 games and a terrible record of having only scored 4 goals in total so far. Bradford Bulldogs remain rooted to the bottom of the table with 0 points so far this season. They lost 2-12 at home to Widnes on Saturday in game where they were outshot 32 to 90! Bradford play Coventry twice over the next two weekends, though, so it will be interesting to see how those two games pan out.
Solihullâ€™s Erik Bakalar scores the Baronsâ€™ go ahead goal against Solway Sharks on Sunday. (Photo by Keith & Jenny Davies)
Available soon from the supporters table
31 MATCH REPORT
BLACKBURN HAWKS - 5 SUTTON STING - 0
[By Chris Riley, Mr Dodgeball] The Blackburn Hawks entertained Sutton Sting on Sunday evening looking to capitalise on their 2 wins already this season. A comprehensive win at last year’s runners up Billingham was followed up with a stuttering home win to Moralee new boys Telford Tigers. The visitors were icing for the first time this season, and were hoping to put a marker down to the rest of the league. Similar to the Hawks, it has been a summer of changes for the Sheffield based outfit, with Ian Johnson moving upstairs and Ian Ross taking on the role of player coach. Sting have also been boosted by the signing of former Sheffield Senator marksman Serejs Jegorovs, a prolific point scorer in the Senators promotion campaign from the Laidler Conference last season. Hawks were missing Ollie Lomax and iced 15+2 while Sting travelled with 19+2. After a delay to the start of the game to secure one of the nets, the home side were straight onto the attack with Andy Dunn forcing Zimozdra into action almost straight from the face off, following neat build up play from Arnone and Adam Brittle. Hawks were fast out of the blocks and dominated both possession and territory in the opening 5 minutes. Sting were using their big bench to try and thwart the home sides rhythm. It was while Blackburn were killing a Dave Meikle roughing penalty that they took the lead through Adam Brittle. Strong work against the boards from Rjay Berra allowed him to Tee up the former Telford man to beat Zimozdra from close range. Next it was Max Drakeleys turn to sit out for two minutes as he was called for hooking. This allowed Sutton some much needed possession in the Hawks zone, but this resulted in only one shot on Stuart Ashton’s goal. Hawks were now finding space on the ice and a fierce slap shot from Bentham resulted in a scramble round the crease, but Hawks were unable to beat Zimozdra. The rest of the period provided little action as the Hawks went into the first break one to the good. Period two began in the same vein as the previous one as the home side peppered the Sutton goal. Zimozdra once again stood firm and to wave of attacks from Blackburn, denying Brittle, Miettinen and Simister in quick succession. Bentham was now starting to dictate play with his clever positioning and use of the puck, and with the industrious Matt Viney getting in the faces of the opposition, Hawks were penning Sutton back into their own zone. The pressure finally proved too much as Aaron Davies managed to beat the impressive Russian from a tight angle to double the lead. It was now like the proverbial London bus as Hawks soon added another. David Meikle’s cross shot was fortuitously deflected in off a Sting skate, following smart build up play between Aaron Davies and Matt Viney. Although comfortable in their play, Hawks were becoming a little complacent in their own zone and a series of misplaced passes nearly resulted in Sting attacks on Ashton’s goal. A less profligate side than Sutton would make teams pay for such errors.
32 MATCH REPORT Jordan Bannon was a frustrated character on the night and it was the Liverpudlian who was involved a flashpoint with Johnson as the period drew to a close. This resulted in the Blackburn man drawing a 2+2 roughing and misconduct penalty to give the visitors an opportunity to get back into the game. Hawks saw the penalty and the period out to go into the final period in a comfortable position. It was Sutton who began the final stanza in the ascendency, desperately trying to get a foothold in the game and test the home side’s nerves. Thankfully for Blackburn Stuart Ashton was to prove a more than adequate barrier to keep his shut-out intact. This appeared to give the champions a wake-up call as they swarmed all over their opponents. With Sting serving a penalty for too many men on the ice, Blackburn hit the post 3 times in a 60 second onslaught. Adam Brittle added his second of the night, slotting home from a tight angle following good work from Arnone and Berra. Ziomzdra was finally beaten for a fifth time as he uncharacteristically gave-way an Aaron Davies’ effort slid under his body. This was the cue for the stopper to end his own evening prematurely to allow his understudy Brown some ice time. As he skated off Zimozdra was given a general ovation by the knowledgeable and fair home crowd. The rest of the period was played out with little goal mouth action.
Final Word It must be a concern for the rest of the league that this new look Blackburn Hawks team are winning games comfortably without gelling as they would perhaps like. With new players still being integrated, the champions are only likely to get stronger and more formidable. It is difficult to assess Sutton after just one game. Their lack of firepower must be a concern, yet with Zimozdra in goal they will always be in games. If they find an attacking formula they may be a threat as the season progresses. MVP for the Hawks went to the defenceman, Andy Dunn.
Ben Simister looks on as Jordan Bannon has a word in Johnson’s ear. Photo John Milton (eventog.uk)
Changing Times I’ve always been a “hands on” type of guy from the minute I walked in the building when myself and Paul Bentham lifted most of the Under 10’s over the boards and onto the ice at Solihull (because there was no bench door) and fastening all of the little tykes laces it’s been a constant thing ever since (helping, not fastening laces) I’ve always prided myself on punctuality and appearance, I’m sure we were marked on these things at school?, Sadly it seems to be lacking a bit in society today, however, I digress. Going back over the Twenty years I’ve been coming to the building it’s really only the last 5 or so years if I’m being honest that the place seems to have really moved on, and that is in principle down to Mark Halliwell and I think he deserves a lot of credit for it, something that is sometimes overlooked when individuals look to criticize or compare, for years he was handcuffed in how the business was run and that it appeared to many as a means to an end, we as a club were merely providing a service, not any more, the bar and the building in general has been transformed. Going back over the years with the Hawks I remember I would refer to us as The Dog and Duck Ice Hockey Club as we resembled a Pub Team at times, no organization whatsoever, and everything was made up as we went along, odd socks, no socks, no tape etc. etc. etc, and different coloured Helmets GRRRRR!!!!. There were many times when we even had to “borrow” players to make up the roster, it was usually when we were on the road to places like Dundee and Fife, all of a sudden players couldn’t play due to having to attend their Girlfriends, Brothers, Uncles 60th Birthday Party (Strange that) Eventually the penny dropped, and yours truly was tasked with bringing the team into shape, I was asked to be the Bad Guy in a Good Cop, Bad scenario, I was given the task of Mr Discipline by the Head Coach, my good pal to this day Bobby Haig, OK Winston Churchill speech was delivered at Hull, next step, Code of Conduct including Dress Code “OK Chaps we start tomorrow at Home, smart casual, with nice shoes and no hats, and be on time!!! Game Day………..Bob turns up, late, wearing trainers and a cap on back to front, I was going to have my work cut out. Over the following seasons we’d become stale but we still had a semi productive Junior Development, we decide, Bobby, Mark Ward (Asst Coach) and I
that we had to do something and we agreed that, in the words of the song “Children are our future,” we’d lost a few good kids to other clubs and we asked them to return “Home” and commit to senior Hockey, two of these being Arnone (Hull) and Bentham,(Nottingham) they and their respective parents agreed, and we ventured on this particular path, we’d also pushed forward the likes of Sam Dunford, Craig Rogers and Ryan O’Reilly to step up and join Lomax jnr. in the Senior ranks. We knew we’d have to take a few steps back to go forward, and I firmly believe that has now paid off.
As a club over the last few years I believe that Andy Ashton needs to take a lot of credit for creating the F5 Concept, along with myself we could both see the potential, Yes it was independent, but what it yielded was a platform for an amazing fan base to come together as one unit, I never felt it was split, but what it did do was identify we had a product that was ripe, it was vibrant and it was fresh and the time was right to bring everything together. No longer was it just Meiks, Janet Jackson, Gaz Rogers and Me sat in Nottingham on a Sunday Night, this thing was growing like a Monster. The Supporters Club has been galvanised with enthusiasm and has some great merchandise lined up, that coupled with our superb Media Team make us the envy of the league, the one thing in my opinion that separates us from the rest is that we stay positive, we stay as a unit and we don’t do criticism, kick one and we all limp, great unity and togetherness, believe you me it wasn’t like this in the past. The Team now has an identity, we are League and Play Off Winners, something that was unimaginably not so long ago, but with that comes added pressure, we are there to be shot at, the league has got stronger and I think we need to take a little credit for that, Clubs now have to push on a bit more and put a bit more effort into not only being a good side but being a good club, we have raised the bar I feel, and we as a club should give ourselves a pat on the back. Going forward? I feel that we still have a good few years left with the current squad and it’s age, hopefully along the way we will see some another Meikle, Rogers, Dunford, Lomax, Arnone or Bentham full of enthusiasm with a face cage on. From what was the Dog and Duck to League and Play Off Winners and Invincibles, seems like a story from Disney Film. I have to pinch myself at times, here’s to the next Twenty Years.
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Sheffield Spartans 2015-10-04