Weekend Preview

Tough weekend ahead for the Hawks

Your Full 9 Yards Blackburn Hawks return to league action this week with an away game against Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday night, face off 1930hrs and a home match with the Telford Tigers on Sunday with the usual face off at 1730hrs.

To say this will be a tough weekend is an understatement with the Hawks matching up against the League leaders on Saturday and the 2nd placed team on Sunday.

Steeldogs are on a roll at the moment and recorded two shut outs last weekend, beating Telford Tigers 5-0 at home and Solihull Barons 11-0 in the Midlands. Last time out in Sheffield the Hawks gave a good account of themselves and the 4-1 loss did not really reflect the game. Another performance like that and who knows?

Telford Tigers visit the nest on Sunday, looking for a win to keep tags on the Steeldogs at the top of the league.

THREE TIGERS TO WATCH

SAM GOSPEL

24yr old Nottingham born netminder has played all his career in either Nottingham or Telford apart from 1 appearance for Hull Pirates last season. Starting with the u-16 Nottingham Lynx in 2006 he progressed to the Cougars at u-16, then the Jaguars and Leopards at u-18. 2011 sa him ice in the NIHL2 for Nottingham Lions before moving to Telford Tigers in the EPIHL. There he stayed until Nottingham Panthers called him up to be back up netminder in the Elite League. This season he has started twice for the Panthers and is on a two way deal with the Tigers.

Jack Watkins

25 year old brother of Tigers’ head coach Tom, has been around the leagues quite extensively for his 25 years. He first came to light in the Newcastle Vipers u-16 and u-19 teams in seasons 2005 and 2006. He then moved to Whitley Bay the following year, icing for the Tomahawks and the Braves with 7 appearances in the Warriors ENL team.  Coventry Blaze Elite and ENL teams were net in 2010-11, after which he went on a two way deal to the Telford Tigers and back into the Elite League with the Hull Stingrays, Dundee Stars before moving to Manchester Phoenix in the EPIHL. He had a season with Milton Keynes Lightning and nearer home in Billingham with the Stars before re-joining big brother once again at Telford.

DOUG CLARKSON

The phrase “ buying the league” is one that is bandied around a lot by fans but in this case Doug can certainly win the league for the Tigers.

Clarkson, 30yr old Ontario born left winger, first came to these shores in 2014-15 to play for the Cardiff Devils in the Elite League. This was followed by a season with Dundee Stars before signing for the Tigers in 2016-17. He scored an amazing 58 goals and 45 assists in 61 games, shooting Tigers to the league title. He went back to Canada last year before returning to Telford. So far he has scored 24 goals and 14 assists in just 11 games.

All in all a very tough weekend for assistant coach James Neil, who has the reins at the club while Steve Duncombe is recuperating. All at the club wish Steve a speedy recovery and to see him back at the nest very soon.

James commented, “Tough weekend, sure is. But we will knuckle down and keep to the game plan. The guys are up beat after last week where we tried a few things and everybody signed up to the plan. We had a good de-brief after last Sunday’s game and look forward to this week’s challenges.”

There you go, they don’t come any harder than these games. See you at the rink