Spring Cup: Telford blow as cup nears climax

Will Jordan Kelsall keep his recent scoring form going against Raiders on Saturday? (PHOTO: Kat Medcroft)

FRIDAY RESULT

Swindon Wildcats 4 Telford Tigers 1

Telford Tigers suffered a further blow to their Spring Cup hopes when they went to Swindon Wildcats on Friday and ended up on the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline.

It was redemption for Aaron Nell’s men after their two heavy losses to them earlier this month that saw them concede 16 goals in a sobering weekend.

But it was much different this time as this victory could well be the one that effectively leaves Sheffield Steeldogs as the only show in town for the Spring Cup title in this excellent tournament.

Wildcats got the night off to the perfect start as Jordan Kelsall opened the scoring in the early stages before Sam Godfrey added Swindon’s second in the first minute of the second period to make it 2-0.

Tigers pulled one back through Scott McKenzie as they looked to forge their way back into contention, but Wildcats pulled further ahead to claim the points through goals from Ben Davies and Tomasz Malasinski.

SATURDAY PREVIEW

Raiders vs Swindon Wildcats (Click for streaming info)

The result leaves Tigers’ hopes of calming the Spring Cup in the hands of others and could well be out of sight if Sheffield Steeldogs take full points in their games this weekend.

Speaking of which, it promises to be an interesting day in the competition as Wildcats will look to build on Friday’s win over the Tigers by achieving the same goal when they travel to Raiders.

They come together again a week after a double header that Swindon won on both occasions to restore their own confidence after those two heavy losses to Telford.

The spread of goals within the Wildcats is an obvious threat, but one player Raiders will be mindful of is the in-form Kelsall, whose goal against the Tigers on Friday made it five in his last four appearances.

Sean Easton and his Raiders team are desperate to add to their solitary win the cup so far, which only came last week in a 5-3 win on the road at Bees.

Those games with Swindon will still be fresh in the memory and forward Glenn Billing, speaking to Romford Recorder, wants to repay the faith shown in him by coach Easton.

“It’s been awesome being back where it all started for me and I hope I can re-pay them by helping the boys in any way I can to win in these last four games, starting with this weekend,” Billing said.

“Looking ahead to this weekend we play Swindon on Saturday for the third time in three games straight so we should know what to expect.

“They’re a good team with a lot of offensive fire power and are very good on the powerplay, which was evident last weekend.”

Bees vs Sheffield Steeldogs (Click for streaming info)

The mood around Greg Wood and his Steeldogs side will be a confident, perhaps more so after Telford slipped up again on Friday so will head to Slough looking to perhaps sew up the trophy this weekend.

Their 100% record speaks for itself as they continue to march on and will be heavy favourites again against Doug Sheppard’s side, who are looking for their second win of the competition.

It’s a fixture that might not be one to relish for Bees after suffering two heavy losses at the hands of the Steeldogs earlier this month and the thought of shipping 17 goals may still be causing sleepless nights for the Bees defencemen.

It’s a chance to vanquish those demons certainly and in any 60 minute, anything can happen so it would be unfair to write the Bees off.  However, with 49 goals scored in their eight games and momentum with them, it’s hard to see past the Steeldogs.

One player to watch is Alex Graham, who was being talked up in the Sheffield media by Steeldogs’ team-mate Jason Hewitt earlier this week and 11 points in his last four games will give Sheppard something to think about.

“He’s certainly got the most individual skill I’ve seen in a British player,” Hewitt told the Yorkshire Post about Graham.

“He’s just turned 18 and, obviously, there are parts of his game where the penny has yet to drop, but that’s just natural.  He’s a very exciting talent and somebody who could go as far as anyone has in this country.”

Bees have had just over a week off since that home loss to Raiders and may well be fresh for the meeting with Steeldogs, but whether that can make a difference is anyone’s guess.

Telford and Swindon may well be hoping for a slip up in this one, but a win for Sheffield will put one hand on the trophy.

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