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Pitchley pleased with Raiders rewards

PUBLISHED: 11:00 13 March 2018

Raiders forward JJ Pitchley celebrates one of his goals against MK Thunder (pic John Scott)

Raiders forward JJ Pitchley celebrates one of his goals against MK Thunder (pic John Scott)

Archant

JJ Pitchley was delighted to hit a hat-trick to help Raiders end the National League regular season with a 4-2 win at MK Thunder on Sunday.

Having beaten the same team by a 6-1 margin at Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre the night before to move into fourth place, Raiders ensured they finished above Bracknell with another victory in Milton Keynes.

Pitchley ended a personal 12-match goal drought in style, scoring twice in quick succession in the first period to cancel out an early power play goal from Ross Bowers and then completing his treble in the final period.

Thomas Beesley made it 4-1 with his second goal of the weekend and a late reply could not take the gloss off a top-four finish for Raiders.

Pitchley said: “It was a good end to a good season. We proved a lot of people wrong this year who had written not just us but the other NIHL teams off when the old EPL teams came in.

“It was nice to get the monkey off my back after a few goalless weeks, it felt good and it gave me a lot of confidence after getting a goal or two!

“From a team point of view, We achieved our goals of finishing top of the old teams and finishing in fourth above an ex-EPL team. Now we’ve got to regroup and go again for the play-offs against Bracknell.”

Having finished with 16 goals to his name for the regular league and cup season, former St Edwards pupil Pitchley is still waiting to score in the team’s new home rink.

Raiders visit Bracknell for the first leg of their play-off tie on Saturday, before hosting the Bees in a return on Sunday with the traditional 5.15pm face-off time.

And Pitchley is hoping the Romford crowd can inspire the team to extend their season, adding: “The reception we have received since the move back to Romford has been nothing short of unbelievable.

“Playing in front of 1,000 fans each game at home is a truly incredible feeling and one I’m sure will be around for a long long time.

“The hockey bug is back in Romford and the support is amazing! Keep it loud and positive and we will keep hockey going for a few more weeks!”

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