Stronger Roberts pleased with London Raiders start
PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 October 2016
Fitter forward delighted to open account early
London Raiders forward Sam Roberts believes being fitter has helped him start the new National League season well.
Roberts netted his first goal of the campaign as Raiders lost 9-3 to the Isle of Wight in the cup last Saturday and he picked up his second assist of the season the following night in a 4-2 home win over Bracknell in the league.
He said: “As a forward you always want to get goals early and this season I’m glad I did.
“I think being 10 times fitter and stronger than I was last year is helping my on-ice presence so my personal trainer Sam has to take some credit for the change in my game this year.”
Roberts scored from JJ Pitchley’s pass to bring Raiders to within a goal of Wight at the midway point of their meeting, before tempers boiled over towards the end of the second period.
The visitors saw goalie Michael Gray ejected, along with Matt France and home duo Corey Watkins and Ben Paynter, and young keeper Harry Buckingham was beaten five times on his debut for a lop-sided margin of defeat.
Roberts added: “We started the game strong with plenty of chances, but sadly they got the early lead, but we bounced back with a goal to end the first.
“We could see the lines gelling pretty good throughout the game, just a little bit of crazyness towards the end of the second pretty much ruined the game and the rest is history.”
Marek Nahlik’s quickfire double put Raiders on top against Bracknell back on home ice, before he picked up a shoulder injury, and Roberts helped set up Kamil Kinkor to make it 3-0.
And although the Hornets managed two goals of their own, JJ Pitchley’s effort inbetween them earned the hosts the points.
“Starting off with three quick goals was something you wish you could do in every game, but sadly losing our best player to an injury just after was a big hit to the team,” he added.
“But we grinded the win out and got the two points that we deserved. Getting man of the match was a bit of a shock as I thought a fair few of the other boys deserved it.
“That just shows the talent in our team, but I’ll take the beers for sure.”
Roberts scored two goals and eight assists in 45 appearances last season, after stepping up from Division Two side Haringey, as Raiders finished eighth and lost to champions Chelmsford in the play-offs.
And he was delighted to return to a gold and blue jersey for a second campaign and feels the squad is gelling well and could upset some of their rivals this time around.
He added: “I think the new faces are definitely fitting in and bringing something new to the team witch is always good.
“Everyone seems to get on nicely and we have a good crack when necessary, but on ice we are much stronger than we have been and a few more games and trainings and I think we will start to shock a few teams.
“I’m proud to be back for another year with the Raiders and I’ll carry on giving 110 per cent on and off the ice to help the team progress and reach our goals. “Thanks to all the fans that come to our home and away games, it makes playing mean so much more.