It’s double header action for the Hull Pirates this weekend as we face London Raiders home and away.
The weekend could play a big part in both teams respective battles for league positions. London are locked in a battle with bracknell for the final play off place and we still hold aspirations of a top 2 or 3 position in the league.
Michael Gray is the man in between the pipes for London in what will be his final season for the club after a decade of playing for them. He adds vital experience to an inexperienced lineup and will be relied upon to give his team a fighting chance. His 88.09% save percentage should not be sniffed at given the amount of rubber he has faced. Defensively the Raiders have experienced former Hull player, Dan Scott, playing in a young looking defence. He will be supported by Olegs Lascenko who adds some steel to a backline low on numbers and game experience at this level.
Offensively the London Raiders have not put the sort of numbers up you would expect. Only 4 players are above a point a game which is potentially the reason they languish in eighth currently. Lukas Sladkovsky has 21 goals and 25 assists for his 46 points in 42 games. Aaron Connolly is the teams leading scorer with 27 goals amongst his 45 points in 42 games.
All this being said we saw first hand the unity and tram spirit this outfit has. They appear to thrive on being the underdogs and fight tooth and nail until the bitter end. This showed in the last visit to our arena where they came away with a 2-1 win. Couple this with the battle for points to maintain the play off place they occupy and these two games will be no easy ask.
The Pirates broke a run of losses with a strong win against table topping Telford last weekend and only another performance like that will suffice. Matty Davies was inspirational last week to demolish the Tigers and he could be a big difference against those London outfit. A big chance for a coveted 4 point weekend here which would solidify a place in the upper parts of the league.
By Dave Heath
Hull Pirate Media