Raiders forward Ayliffe enjoys adulation
PUBLISHED: 17:30 07 February 2018
Brandon Ayliffe can still remember being in the crowd at the old Rom Valley Way ice rink as a youngster, cheering on the Romford Raiders.
And he admitted it felt a bit strange to be on the receiving end of such adulation after scoring for the Everyone Active Raiders in a 5-2 win over Cardiff on opening night at the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre.
Ayliffe swept home a pass from Olegs Lascenko to put the home side 4-2 up, having trailed 2-1 in the early stages of the final period.
And he said: “When I was little watching the Raiders growing up I was part of it, shouting out. Now being on the bench, on the ice, hearing it, it’s just a great feeling.
“It was a very good pass. I wasn’t expecting it, but luckily enough I hit it into the back of the net and it was a great feeling, being the first game back at home.”
A four-figure crowd turned up for the historic first match in the town centre venue, with many old supporters seeing their first game in many years.
Ayliffe added: “It was a great feeling. The atmosphere with over a thousand people, scoring a goal as well in Romford, it means a lot.
“Nothing can beat the feeling of a new rink, a new family, enjoying it again like back in the old days playing in Rom Valley Way, it’s a great feeling to be back at home.
“The crowd was amazing, the roar, the screaming, shouting and chanting. I’ve missed it.”
Matt Turner knows what it was like to play in front of a partisan crowd at Rom Valley Way, having helped Romford Raiders win a league title in 2012 and feature in the old rink’s last-ever match.
And having netted to pull the hosts level in the final period, before picking up two assists to take his career tally to 255 points, Turner said: “It was good to get on the scoresheet, the first one in the new barn. It has been great, it felt amazing.
“There was a lot of emotion running high. It got the better of us at the start but we managed to pull it back in the end. The fans are always loud and proud here. It’s awesome.
“It’s a proper hockey town, so it’s good to get back here with the fans. Hopefully we can push for the play-offs and aim for Coventry.”