Match Preview – Telford Tigers – By James Handscombe-Buckley

 

Team News:

Swindon Wildcats – Renny Marr (NM), Dean Skinns (NM), Sam Godfrey, Neil Liddiard, Ben Nethersell, Tyler Plews, Sam Smith, Stevie Whitfield, Edgars Bebris, Jack Goodchild, Chris Jones, Tomasz Malasinski, Aaron Nell, Reed Sayers, Emil Svec, Floyd Taylor, Declan Balmer, Joshua Shaw

Telford Tigers – Brad Day (NM), Oliver Johnson (NM), Ross Connolly, Deakan Fielder, Corey Goodison, Tom McKinnon, Nick Oliver, Jake Price, Daniel Rose, Jonathan Weaver, Joseph Aston, Bayley Harewood, Jack Hopkins, Finley Howells, Brodie Jesson, Scott McKenzie, Andy McKinney, Austin Mitchell-King, Rick Plant, Jason Silverthorn, Jack Watkins, Sam Watkins, Vladimir Luka

 

Club History:

The Telford Tigers have had an interesting history, they were first formed back in 1985 as the Telford Tigers and they played under this guise up until the end of the 1998-99 season and during this period they managed one league title and two cups. In the 1987-88 the Tigers won the old British Division 1 and the cups they managed to secure included the Autumn Trophy and the Christmas Cup.

 

Following this period the team briefly folded and did not compete again until the 2001-02 season and this time they played under the name Telford Wild Foxes. This short period in their history turned out to be fruitless with a 3rd placed finish in their debut season the best return the Wild Foxes managed.

 

Following this the Tigers named returned and under a fan ownership trust the Tigers struggled along at the bottom of the EPL but this all changed when Red Hockey entered the British hockey scene. They injected huge investment and this saw Telford win two league championships in three years, this was to be the most successful period in the club’s history but it came with a price. The level of investment was unsustainable and this saw the current incarnation of the Tigers fold and cease to compete.

 

However, with the void left in the EIHA’s top league in Telford the Tigers NIHL side which was previously the 2nd team in the rink stepped up and the Tigers name lived on. During this period the Tigers have won one league title and they are the reigning NIHL champions.

 

21/22 Season Meetings:

18/09/2021 Swindon Wildcats 1-2 Telford Tigers

17/10/2021 Telford Tigers 3-4 Swindon Wildcats

11/11/2021 Swindon Wildcats 6-3 Telford Tigers

17/11/2021 Telford Tigers 4-6 Swindon Wildcats

04/12/2021 Swindon Wildcats 2-3 Telford Tigers

12/12/2021 Telford Tigers 2-3 Swindon Wildcats

 

Previous Seasons Performance:

NIHL National – 1st – GP50 – W33 – L10 – OTL7 – GF217 – GA178 – PTS73

 

 

Previous Meetings (19/20 Season):

29/09/2019 Telford Tigers 3-2 Swindon Wildcats

16/11/2019 Swindon Wildcats 3-5 Telford Tigers

15/12/2019 Telford Tigers 8-6 Swindon Wildcats

22/02/2020 Swindon Wildcats 2-3 Telford Tigers

 

The Coach:

Tonight’s opposing head coach is Tom Watkins and he will be entering his 12th straight season as the head coach of the Telford Tigers and he has been through thick and thin with this team. Watkins has had the highs during the Red Hockey era and the struggles with fans ownership as well as rebuilding following the collapse of Red Hockey.

 

Watkins was born in Durham and came up through the Sunderland Chiefs youth system and he made his senior debut with the Billingham Bombers and following this one season he quickly made the move down to Telford and following that team folding he joined the Coventry Blaze after a brief stop in Hull. As a player Watkins is most known for his time in Coventry and he was part of a Blaze side that was dominant during the early 2000’s.

 

After leaving the Blaze Watkins first took up a player-coaching role with the Tigers in 2010 and then moved to be behind the bench fully in 2014. As a coach he currently has 5 trophies to his name and these include three league titles and two cup competitions.