NIHL North weekend preview

Coventry’s Philip Pollok

The last weekend of 2013 sees a number of interesting games in NIHL North.

On Saturday Moralee Conference leaders Solway Sharks are at Sheffield Spartans, while Manchester Minotaurs host Blackburn Hawks. The following evening Sutton Sting bid to win their ninth game in their last eleven as they face the Spartans.

Forward James Spurr has been in excellent form in recent weeks and is keen to continue the run: “We started the season poorly and found consistency hard to come by. We’ve now come together as a team, winning some big matches to climb the league, and we’re finding the back of the net too.

“The Spartans game is a must-win to keep us in the play-off spots. They’ve beaten us twice this season and this weekend will be tough, but if we play our game and play the way we have been doing it should be another step in the right direction.”

There are just two games in Laidler Conference on Sunday, with leaders Solihull Barons at Sheffield Sentaors, while Hull Jets host Coventry Blaze. Jets have been much improved recently, winning their last four games, and forward Kieran Beach is pleased with how the team is progressing: “Things are improving all the time, with the coaches and managers dedicated to helping us out as players as much as they can.

“There was a lot of promotion for our last game against Sheffield as it was the official launch of our new kit, so it was good to play in front of a few more fans than normal. I hope they all continue to support us because it was much appreciated by the players. We knew it wouldn’t be an easy game as both teams had beaten Coventry and Widnes recently, but I think we were the better team and deserved the win.”

After a solid start to the season Blaze have won just two of their last six to drop off the pace at the top of the table. Forward Philip Pollok said: “We have a very young team with lots of potential. We’re working hard and I’m quite excited to see how we’ll get on during the rest of the season.

“This weekend’s game should be very interesting, considering Hull beat us at our rink last time and we beat them at theirs. Neither of us will want to back down as the season is coming to its most crucial time where every point matters.”

Sunday’s remaining game is in the KD Flavell & Sons Northern Cup as Blackburn face-off against Solway.

(Image permission: Scott Wiggins)

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