Peterborough Phantoms start the league season with a couple of grudge matches

Tom Norton.Tom Norton.
Tom Norton.
Peterborough Phantoms Player-coach Tom Norton insists 60-minute performances are vital if his side are to challenge for glory again this season.

The city club are ready for battle in the inaugural NIHL National Division – the new second tier of the sport.

And Norton, the club’s star defenceman and a major weapon on the powerplay, spoke of a determination to follow up the 2018/19 treble with more silverware.

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He was certainly impressed with the manner in which they rounded off their preparations by seeing off Basingstoke 4-0 last Sunday to complete a 6-2 aggregate triumph in the annual Billy Glover Memorial Cup.

“We produced the full 60-minute performance we all wanted last Sunday,” stated Norton.

“We knew that wouldn’t come straight away, but it was a great way to finish the pre-season games and we’ll need a lot more of them in the weeks and months ahead.

“We want to win titles and trophies again. We certainly don’t lace up the skates to try and finish fourth.

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“We are determined to be competitive week in, week out and hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to challenge for silverware again.

“There are going to be a lot of intense and close games for the fans to look forward to.”

Young Taylor Romeo fired Phantoms ahead in the second leg against Basingstoke before three powerplay goals in quick succession from Glenn Billing, Norton and Conor Pollard sealed victory.

The two sides shared four goals in Hampshire the previous evening when James Ferrara bagged a brace for Phantoms.

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The city men now launch their league campaign with back-to-back clashes against Bracknell this weekend.

They travel to The Hive on Saturday (6pm) before welcoming the Bees to Planet Ice on Sunday (5.30pm).

The two clubs had a stormy rivalry last term with ugly scenes following Phantoms’ triumph in Bracknell in the NIHL South Cup semi-finals with a host of Bees’ players and their coach, Doug Sheppard, hit with suspensions. The city men then also beat Bracknell in the NIHL Division South play-offs final

“There have been a lot of changes at Bracknell, but we don’t expect their style of play to be any different,” added Norton.

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“They will be hard-working and gritty and have a couple of imports capable of changing games by scoring big goals.

“It’s a new season in a new league so I’m sure we’ve buried the hatchet after what happened last season.”