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Pitchley thanks fans for London Raiders prize

PUBLISHED: 11:00 19 April 2017

JJ Pitchley receives the London Raiders Supporters' Player of the Year award (pic Danny Oxley)

JJ Pitchley receives the London Raiders Supporters' Player of the Year award (pic Danny Oxley)

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Forward joins exclusive list as Supporters’ Player of Year

Marek Nahlik and JJ Pitchley shared the London Raiders top scorer award (pic Danny Oxley) Marek Nahlik and JJ Pitchley shared the London Raiders top scorer award (pic Danny Oxley)

London Raiders forward JJ Pitchley thanked the club’s supporters after joining an exclusive list as their choice for player of the year for the 2016/17 National League season.

The 23-year-old followed in the footsteps of original Raiders heroes Marc Chartier, Gord Jeffrey and Rob Stewart in earning the fans’ vote after the club’s 30th season on ice, pipping fellow forward Thomas Beesley to the prize.

And former Romford junior Pitchley, son of former Raiders defenceman Ben, actually got his hands on three awards at the end of season presentation evening at the Best Western Ivy Hill in Margeretting as he was also named best forward and shared the top scorer prize with Slovakian import Marek Nahlik after both finished with 52 points to their name.

He said: “It was a nice way to end the year for me, for sure. It was an amazing evening, the best end-of-season do I’ve been too since dad played!

London Raiders forward JJ Pitchley hands over his warm-up jersey to sponsors Georgia and Jo Cahill (pic Danny Oxley) London Raiders forward JJ Pitchley hands over his warm-up jersey to sponsors Georgia and Jo Cahill (pic Danny Oxley)

“It was just like I remember them as a kid. The fan base the raiders have is phenomenal and the relationship the players and fans have is second to none.

“As I’ve said many a time before, the Gold and Blue Army are the best fans in the league!”

Beesley collected the players’ player of the year award from captain Tom Davis, while coach Alan Blyth named March’s player of the month Sam Roberts as his own pick.

Julian Smith took home the defenceman of the year prize, after battling back from a nasty finger injury sustained in the first half of the campaign, which saw Raiders finish fifth and reach the cup and play-off semi-finals before bowing out to regular season champions Chelmsford.

Thomas Beesley receives the London Raiders players' player of the year award from captain Tom Davis (pic Danny Oxley) Thomas Beesley receives the London Raiders players' player of the year award from captain Tom Davis (pic Danny Oxley)

Kevin Davis received the Heart of the Raiders award for his work behind the scenes, before a shirt auction raised vital funds for the club.

And Pitchley, who enjoyed a successful return to a Raiders jersey after spells with Slough and Bracknell, admitted it would be good to recharge the batteries in readiness for a new campaign and the team’s impending return to its spiritual home in Romford beyond that.

He added: “It’s time now for a few weeks rest before the summer workouts start, getting ready for September.

“It’s a new chapter for the Raiders and not long until we will be back in Romford. t’ts been an honour to be welcomed back home like I have been, it’s like I never left.

Julian Smith was named defenceman of the year for London Raiders (pic Danny Oxley) Julian Smith was named defenceman of the year for London Raiders (pic Danny Oxley)

“Thank you to the fans for the awards and for the support week in, week out.”

Supporters’ Raider of the Year, previous winners (*=import): Marc Chartier*, Gord Jeffrey* (2), Rob Stewart* (3), Terry Kurtenbach*, Danny Marshall (2), Mikko Nurminen* (2), Henrik Olsson*, Jaakko Komulainen*, Jamie Randall, Mark Williams, Rob Douglas*, Andrew Power*, Kyle Amyotte*, Andrius Kaminskas*, Mark Lee, Jan Krajicek*, Matt Turner, Juraj Huska*, Billy Phillips, Shane Kemp, David Oliver, Jacob Ranson, Marek Nahlik*.

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