NIHL North weekend preview

Titans’ top scorer Chris Jones

Telford Titans face a weekend on the road as they bid to move away from the NIHL1 North drop zone. Titans travel to Coventry Blaze on Saturday before a trip the following evening to Blackburn Hawks, and Coach Dave Fielder still has high hopes for the season, “We may have a couple missing at Coventry but we’ll be at full strength on Sunday,” said Fielder. “Starting late hasn’t helped and our first goal will be to avoid relegation. It’ll be hard to make the play-offs but we’ll keep battling to repeat what we achieved last year.”

The top two are both in action on Saturday, with Solway Sharks hosting Sheffield Spartans while Billingham Stars travel to Trafford Metros. Stars have strengthened their roster after netminder Richard Griffiths agreed a return to the club. Griffiths was part of Billingham’s 2006 title winning squad, before establishing himself as Nottingham Lions first choice keeper. Griffiths will compete with Mark Watson for the starting role.

Whitley Warriors and Sutton Sting look to boost their play-off hopes in Sunday’s clash at Hillheads. Warriors bounced back from the defeat at Telford with a comfortable win at home to Coventry on Sunday, while Sting edged past Sheffield. Sutton Coach Ian Johnson is keen for a repeat performance, “We were happy with two points last week and Sunday is another must-win game,” said Johnson. “Our new signing Aaron Jordan stepped up against Sheffield with four goals and I’m still hopeful of strengthening the side further. For now, I hope the lads can capitalise on last weekend’s win and maintain our presence in the top half of the table.”

Deeside Dragons face another tough test of their NIHL2 North promotion hopes with a trip to Sheffield Senators on Saturday. The teams met at Deeside earlier in the season, with Senators running out 3-1 winners and Dragons’ boss Ian Foster acknowledged they face a difficult task, “With no game last week everyone has trained hard and is looking forward to what will be a tough game,” said Foster. “We need the win to keep up with Nottingham who aren’t dropping points at the moment, which is leaving just the play-off spot to fight for.” The following night Senators travel to meet Hull Stingrays.

(Image permission: Matt Giles)

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