NIHL South preview: Graham boosts Chieftains’ title bid

Chelmsford Chieftains have strengthened their roster ahead of Sunday’s game against London Raiders with the signing of defender Carl Graham.

The 32-year-old has spent the majority of his career in the EPL with Bracknell Bees, Basingstoke Bison and Manchester Phoenix and also won the NIHL1 South play-off title with Wightlink Raiders in 2015.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to play in this league with the top team,” said Graham.

“My aim is to help secure the league and play-off titles and bring home a couple of trophies. I’m looking forward to getting started and settling in.”

Chieftains’ boss Sean Easton added: “I’ve spoken to a few of Carl’s recent coaches and they all have good things to say.

“Carl processes a strong shot from the point and a good first pass to set up the offense. He likes to play a physical game and will defend his teammates.

“With his experienced head he will bring composure to the heart of our defence, and good knowledge to the room.

“We are looking for Carl to be a dependable and solid stay at home defender that will take pride in his plus/minus.”

The Raiders are also in action on Saturday when they face MK Thunder and a victory in that game would set them up nicely for Sunday’s clash with the Chieftains.

Last week’s 3-2 victory over Bracknell Hornets left the London side fifth in the standings, but with games in hand on the teams above them forward Jacob Ranson believes they are capable of climbing higher.

“We’ve had Chelmsford’s number in the cup so far this season, but they’re still unbeaten in the league and running away with it,” he told the Romford Recorder.

“I’m hoping on Sunday we can bring them down a peg with a big performance. Last time we played in Chelmsford, the fans were amazing and really loud, which I felt played a big part in us coming away with the win.”

Invicta Dynamos host Oxford City Stars on Sunday aiming to continue their recent improved run of form.

The Dynamos have won four on the bounce to move up to second in the table and forward Callum Fowler hopes the team can keep things rolling into 2017.

“On our day every game’s winnable – we shouldn’t be dropping points in any game if we can help it,” he told Kent Sports News.

“We’ve got some confidence and a bit of a run going, so hopefully we can keep building on that and go into the New Year as close to Chelmsford as we can.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

NIHL1 South

Saturday

London Raiders v MK Thunder

Sunday

Chelmsford Chieftains v London Raiders
Invicta Dynamos v Oxford City Stars
MK Thunder v Bracknell Hornets

NIHL2 South

Saturday

Invicta Mustangs v Lee Valley Lions

Sunday

Basingstoke Buffalo v Swindon Wildcats NIHL

(Image permission: Chris Callaghan)

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