NIHL1 Weekend Preview: 14/15 October

We’ve got 8 games to look at this weekend, 5 in the league, 1 in the National cup and 2 in the Autumn Cup.

League action
Peterborough return to league duty after a weekend off for some cup games and will be looking to regain their spot at the top of the league. So far they have refused their league opponents a single point across their 5 games so far, they will want to continue that great form against Invicta and Streatham – their opponents this weekend. With Swindon in double-cup action and Bracknell only playing once, two more wins would see them go at least 2 points clear.
Invicta and Streatham will be looking to put a blot on that perfect record. The Mos are yet to play the Phantoms and will be buoyed after giving a good account of themselves last weekend against title contenders Basingstoke. Their squad still seems a little light on numbers to me with only 3 lines and 2 NMs signed at the moment. In this league, depth is going to play a key factor in the final league positions. Having said that, sometimes a small but tightly knit squad can also pull together and cause shocks. Streatham and Peterborough have met already in the reverse of Sunday’s fixture where the Phantoms were 5-2 winners. Redhawks will have Ryan Watt back in the line-up and new signing Jamie Hayes was also starting to show touches of his old self (although perhaps still a little rusty). Peterborough will go into both games and favourites, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are made to work for the points!

It will be a tough weekend for Streatham all told though as they will also travel to title hopefuls Basingstoke (and the only other team not to have given any league points away yet) on the Saturday. Basingstoke are also unbeaten in the league, and their mid-table position reflects their lack of league action so far rather than their form in that competition. Basingstoke have already made their first big squad change as it was announced this week that they have released Jaro Cesky in favour of fellow Czech Roman Malinik (last seen in the UK playing for the now-defunct Manchester Phoenix).

Also on Saturday, Cardiff travel to London for a game against the Raiders. Cardiff strengthened last weekend with the addition of NM Jordan Lawday and the return of some of their key players from injury. They still lost to both Bracknell and Swindon, but the margins are getting smaller and hopefully they can close the gap a bit more. The good news is that the team seem to be keeping their heads up and getting a great fighting spirit going (at least from what I have seen of players’ social media). Hosts London also had a tough weekend with losses to both Swindon and Basingstoke and will want to bounce back from that. With both teams having Sunday off, there will be no excuse not to go 100% for the full game and this could be a cracker.

Our final league game this weekend sees Invicta (with an away double-header), travel to Milton Keynes. The two sides met on the first day of the season in a pretty even game that saw MK bagging the winner just 3 minutes from time to take it 3-2. Dynamos had a much improved performance last Sunday, taking the game to Basingstoke and although they didn’t win had their fans going home a lot happier than the weekend before. MK meanwhile took an important 2 points in a 3-1 win against Streatham and will be looking to build further on that to consolidate their position in the top half of the table.

National Cup action
Just the one game in the National Cup this weekend as Basingstoke travel the short distance to the Hive to face Bracknell. This is the 3rd meeting in the cup group between the teams so far this season with the series currently tied at 1-1 (although Bees have the advantage in goal difference at the moment). A win for Bracknell will lift them into the qualification places, while a win for Basingstoke will at least put them on level points with Swindon and Telford. The Bisons’ form in this competition so far has been pretty woeful so far, although they have yet to lose a game in the other two competitions. This could be a cracking game.

Autumn Cup action
It’s a double header for Swindon in the Autumn cup this weekend as they take on Telford at home on Saturday and away on Sunday. No The two sides met the 3 weeks ago in Telford for a National Cup game where Swindon took all the points in a 4-1 game. The main talking point that night though was the clash between Toms Rutkis and Jonathan Weaver, leaving Rutkis in hospital requiring an operation with a broken jaw and Weaver suspended. Neither will play this weekend as a result.

With the exception of that game, Telford are unbeaten this season, although Sheffield did take them all the way to penalty shots and both Basingstoke and Billingham got within a goal. Swindon have also been in fine form since that weekend, putting together a string of 6 back to back wins (the Telford game being the second), with only Streatham taking it close in a tight 2-1 game. With the added history of their last meeting adding a little spice, this should be a doozy of a series.

Fixture information​
17:30 London Raiders vs Cardiff Fire (NIHL1)
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Telford Tigers (Autumn Cup Group 2)
18:30 Basingstoke Bison vs Streatham IHC (NIHL1)
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1)

18:00 Bracknell Bees vs Basingstoke Bison (NIHL1 Cup Group D)
18:00 Telford Tigers vs Swindon Wildcats (Autumn Cup Group 2)
18:30 Milton Keynes Thunder vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1)
18:45 Streatham IHC vs Peterborough Phantoms (NIHL1)

482days will have live twitter updates from Swindon on Saturday and Milton Keynes on Sunday. If you want to come and say ‘hi’ or would like a pin badge, just look for the bright yellow laptop! We’ll also have updates on scores and scorers from all the games across the weekend as we get the information. Going to a game? We’d love to know what’s happening – tweet us @482days with your updates!

Looking for info on the NIHL2 games? You can find the NIHL2 South preview HERE where our correspondents Laurence Thorn and Don McDemott will take a look at all the action in that league this weekend.

Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League
NIHL1 National Cup Group B
NIHL1 Autumn Cup Group 2

October 13th, 2017 by