10by10 Milton Keynes 2017-18 Season Preview

Photo: Kevin Slyfield

Our penultimate 10by10 article this season looks at NIHL1 stalwart Milton Keynes Thunder, the only team to have never played in any other league! So it’s only fitting that we ask a long-time MK servant to tell us about them: step up Ross Bowers who has played 15 of his 16 senior seasons at his home club.

This season is going to be the biggest challenge in the history of the Milton Keynes Thunder. There is no doubt our squad has improved massively, but then so has the league. The collapse of the EPL brings the ‘big 4’ of Bracknell, Swindon, Basingstoke and Peterborough to the ENIHL. These teams will drive the quality of the league up and hopefully won’t flex their financial muscles too much and remember that the success of any league is down to the competitiveness of it.

I think Mk, London, Streatham, Invicta and Cardiff should be given a lot of respect for choosing to stay in the league and compete with the teams with bigger resources. Especially when dropping down to the league below and being a big fish in a small pond would have been a much easier ride.

The expectations of this season are quite simple from our point of view. We want to compete!! Every shift, every game. We clearly don’t have the depth in talent that some of the bigger teams have, but it doesn’t take talent to work hard and be hard to play against.

Coach Clifford has done a great job retaining a solid core of players from last years team and then added some real exciting players also. Tommy Annetts, Josh Crane and Mark Woolf are a great goaltending team.

Big Rupe Quiney and Lewy Christie will make our D a lot harder to beat.  Handisides and O’Flaherty add to our quality up front with Grant McPherson bringing a lot of leadership and experience along with his skill.

Two players to watch for the future are definitely Rio Grinell-Parke and Oliver Lord. I expect them both to have breakout years.

Our marquee signing this year would have to be Tom Carlon. The guy is a complete horse and dominates offensively.

One thing all these players have in common is they are all great guys to have on your team. From a personal point of view I would just like to help the team in anyway I can. Hopefully I can use my experience to give the younger players some help along the way too.

Manager Dave Fairhurst has worked so hard putting together this exciting squad, choosing to rely on home grown British talent only. I hope the amazing fans in MK will see this and really get behind us this season.

Milton Keynes opened their season with a challenge game against NIHL2 South’s Bristol Pitbulls in which they had a comfortable 13-1 win. Their league campaign starts this weekend with a home game against Bracknell Bees on Sunday 9th September followed by a trip to Invicta Dynamos on Sunday 10th September.

You’ll be able to find all the remaining articles in our 10by10 season previews (as they are released) together with all the previous seasons’ articles on the following link: http://482days.com/category/10by10/

September 8th, 2017 by