Raiders National team roll fresh from a 7-1 drubbing of the Bracknell bees to a potentially formidible first league game for both themselves and opponents Swindon Wildcats. League winners last season the Cats consistency is key but Raiders came away with the points on more than one occasion with last seasons squad. The Swindon team has retained the majority of its title winning squad with the exception of Elite bound Jones. A couple of new “non-EIHA” trained players join the ranks and of course ex import Birbraer has slipped in through the backdoor as a brit for “occasional” use. Whether the “occasion” will be days when Swindon are playing Ice Hockey is yet to be seen.
Swindon coach Aaron Nell acknowledges that “intensity” will be key in this fixture and Raiders youthful squad should have the legs to match most teams in that department.
Having some stamina will help the Raiders in Sundays home game vs Basingstoke after the Swindon road trip. Again a team made up largely of last seasons players the Bison have retained their influential player coach Ashley Tait and last season productive imports. Raiders again managed to take the points a couple of times from the Bison and also gave some away after building good leads. A stronger squad this season should be able to prevent those slippages.
Whilst the Nationals travel the Div 1 Raiders entertain Invicta for a quick return on Saturday after a narrow 4-5 loss to those Dark Horses at Gillingham last Sunday.
On Sunday Raiders Div 1 take the short journey to Chelmsford who’s summer time re-build includes many of last seaons Raiders’ squad. A tough game on paper, but the Div 1 team’s energetic youth enjoy tearing up paper predictions.