NIHL North weekend preview

Dragons will hope Ric Hughes can fire them to promotion

The battle to reach the NIHL2 North promotion play-off could be decided this weekend, with Deeside Dragons and Solihull Barons both facing must-win games.

Dragons are two points ahead of the Barons with just Saturday’s game at Hull Stingrays to play, while the Midlands outfit face the first of two games against Nottingham Lions on Sunday. Coventry Blaze await whoever wins the race and Dragons’ Player/coach Steve Fellows believes his team deserve the opportunity.

“We took a little time to settle with new players arriving at the start of the season, but we’ve come into form at just the right time. We’re capable of getting the win we need on Saturday and getting into the play-offs. I think we’ve earned a chance on merit and it would be a great way to mark our first season under the Deeside Dragons name.”

Barons will pip Deeside for second spot if they win both remaining games, but Coach Darren Bellerby isn’t expecting the Lions to ease up now they’ve won the title.

“We can’t think like that. It will be no easy ride and we’ll be taking the game to them. The Lions owe us no favours and will be playing as if they’re still fighting to win the league. There should be a good crowd in on the night, as Nottingham bring decent travelling support, but the fanbase at Solihull is the best in the league. They’re a really big factor in our home form and the guys really up their game when they get behind them.”

The final fixture in NIHL2 is on Sunday as Blackburn Eagles host Fylde Flyers.

It’s the final weekend of the regular season in NIHL1 North and the top four are all in action ahead of the traditional end-of season play-offs.

Champions Solway Sharks face Whitley Warriors on Saturday, before travelling to Sheffield Spartans on Sunday. Billingham Stars & Sutton Sting face weekend double-headers against Telford Titans and Trafford Metros respectively, while Blackburn Hawks travel to the Spartans on Saturday.

(Image permission: PSD-Images)

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