PREVIEW: Barons vs Stars
Solihull Barons vs Oxford City Stars, Challenge, Solihull Ice Rink, 6pm
There’s some teams that the Stars have taken on regularly over the years and some that we’ve hardly met at all, and the Barons would fall into the latter category and to look at previous meetings, means going back deep into the history books. Stars were in the same league as Barons in 2007/08 but before that the last time Stars took on Solihull in a league match was about 20 years ago in the 1992/93 season.
Of course, the most notorious game between the two, if not the most famous came in the Fosters Midlands Cup (not the Fosters your thinking off) back in 1984, when mis-communication meant that Stars had to scrabble a team of 2nd team players and juniors together at short notice to play the Barons as the majority of the team didn’t realise that they had a game! The Barons went onto win by the narrow margin of 50-0. By the third period, the Stars netminder was exhausted and Emma Bowles, Women’s GB netminder went into goal to become the first ever woman to play in a competitive British senior game
Last season Solihull had an up and down time in their league. On their day, they could easily take on anyone in NIHL2 (North) as they proved when they won 8-0 at home to Nottingham Lions (who went onto win the division), and beat 2nd placed Deeside Dragons 7-5 as well. However, they also dropped points where they wouldn’t have wanted to and in the end came an agonising two points short of the promotion playoff spot.
Looking at the Barons line up, they are a mostly young side, but with some players with fantastic experience, especially on the blueline with Perry Doyle and Phil Lee. Lee, a GB international with 8 caps first iced for the Barons back in 1986 and despite moving around has played at Solihull for the vast majority of his career.
In terms of the younger players, Josh Bruce is a quality signing, picked up from the Coventry Blaze in the EIHL and has always been in the points at whatever level of hockey he has played. Joe Henry is another quality addition after joining the Barons half way through last year. Henry has sizable EIHL and EPIHL experience at Coventry Blaze and Telford Tigers.
For both sides the match will come as a pre-season loosener but it presents a great opportunity for players to stake an early claim. Earlier in the week, Oxford requested permission from Solihull to ice all three netminders, which was granted, so all three Stars goalies will be given an early shake down in what should be an interesting inter-league clash.