NIHL South preview: Streatham aiming to keep tabs on the leaders

Streatham IHC boss Jeremy Cornish says his team have a big weekend ahead of them in NIHL1 South as they look to keep in touch with the top of the table.

Last Sunday’s impressive 7-1 win against Oxford City Stars was Streatham’s biggest victory of the season and Cornish wants two repeat performances in their double-header against London Raiders this weekend.

“We played really well and it was by far our best team performance since I took over a few weeks ago – we played exactly how I want us to and it paid off,” said Cornish.

“We’ve been progressing very well over the last few weeks and the new guys are fitting in well with the team – I’m excited with the direction we’re heading.

“We have two massive games this weekend as we look to keep moving up the table.

“The Raiders have been playing some strong hockey recently – they beat Chelmsford Chieftains in the cup last weekend so we’ll be preparing for two tough matches.”

Stars’ Head Coach Simon Anderson believes his players must work harder if they’re to avoid losing back-to-back league games for the first time this season.

Anderson admitted he was disappointed with last week’s performance against Streatham, but thinks they can bounce back at Chelmsford on Saturday.

“We don’t want to get beat two games in a row – that’s the task I’ve set the players, but we’ve now put ourselves in the situation where if we’re going to bounce back we have to beat the league leaders away,” Anderson told Oxfordshire Sports Online.

“We’ve had some really good performances this year and let’s not forget we’re still second in the league. If we want to stay there we have to be consistent.

“We’ve certainly got guys in the dressing room who are capable of getting something at Chelmsford. We play them three times before Christmas and it’s going to have a massive bearing on where we finish in the league.”

Cardiff Fire host Basingstoke Buffalo on Saturday hoping to maintain their unbeaten record in D2S.

Fire have yet to drop a point in either the league or cup this season, but their boss Mark Cuddihy believes there is still room for improvement.

“I’m pleased with results so far, but we have a lot of work to do between now and hopefully the post-season,” said Cuddihy.

“We know we haven’t started to click yet – we’re winning games without playing well and that is encouraging. We all know there is so much more to come from this team.

“We have Tim Burrows to come back from injury and he will start skating very soon – he will make a huge difference.

“There’s also Sam Smith who is yet to play for us due to a holiday he’d booked before signing. Those two guys will really make a big impact.

“The most exciting thing as a coach is our strength in depth. Two weeks ago our fourth line won us a game with two goals in a 4-2 win.

“We have fantastic strength through the squad and any one of our lines can win a game for us. We’ll improve as the season goes on and I’m excited for the rest of the campaign.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

NIHL 1 South

Saturday

Chelmsford Chieftains v Oxford City Stars
London Raiders v Streatham IHC

Sunday

Oxford City Stars v MK Thunder
Solent Devils v Chelmsford Chieftains
Streatham IHC v London Raiders

NIHL2 South

Saturday

Cardiff Fire v Basingstoke Buffalo
Swindon Wildcats NIHL v Bristol Pitbulls (Cup)

Sunday

Lee Valley Lions v Peterborough Islanders (Cup)

(Image permission: Rick Webb)

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