Raiders’ Drought Continues

Concern on the Raiders bench
Concern on the Raiders bench

Don McDermott hears from the head coach after another disappointing result.

London Raiders Head Coach Adam Blyth has insisted that his team have not let their recent poor string of results affect them.

Following their 4-1 loss to Solent Devils at the weekend, he said, “The team spirit is not bad. The run we’ve had, we’ve played [league leaders] Chelmsford and Invicta a few times. We have a bit of an easier stretch coming up, so hopefully we can take something from those [games].”

Despite Blyth’s positive attitude, such optimism was not shared by some of the Raiders fans. The defeat saw the East London side slip down to eighth place in the National League and they have now gone 12 games without a win. Their last victory came against the Streatham Redskins last December. Whilst the coach appreciated such concerns, he believes that his side’s run of results does not realistically reflect how they have performed.

Blyth said: “I’ve been a supporter since I was eight years old. It’s not good to be on a losing run. But I don’t think we’ve really been playing that badly. I think we’ve been playing some good stuff, and I think the majority of fans agree.”

The Raiders were let down against the Devils by a lacklustre defence as Solent scored all four of their goals on end-to-end rushes.

London’s sole goal came late in the second period, when they were already down 4-0. Captain Tom Davis’ hard shot was blocked by Solent netminder Christian Cole, but Slovakian international Marek Nahlik was there to blast in the rebound.

Frustration

The Raiders fought hard in the third period, but their poor performance on power plays and a flat-footed defence doomed them to another defeat.

Blyth said: “There’s a lot of frustration in the team today. [We had] two nil-nil periods [and] we should have got something out of those. But the second period let us down big time today.”

The Raiders need to halt their slide to avoid falling into ninth and out of the playoff zone, and Blyth sounded confident that the Raiders will be able to turn the season around.

He added, “We’ve definitely got the guys to do that. It’ll be hard, it’ll be tough. We’ve got to look ahead of us, not behind us. We’ve got to grind out results, it needs a bit of character from the guys on the ice, as well as in the dressing room.”

Don McDermott

Don McDermott is a sports presenter and commentator for Wycombe Sound Radio 106.6 FM, a media and marketing intern for the Essex County Cricket Club and a regional press officer with the Students RFU. Don has written and commentated on various sports, including cricket, rugby union, football, tennis, athletics, hockey, netball, rowing, basketball, volleyball, ice hockey, baseball, softball, cheerleading and gymnastics.