Banners On The Wall Question Time 2 – a time more questiony! (and some other bits)Posted: 11/11/2012
With no traditional Running with the Herd due to me doing my husbandly duty yesterday (I took the wife to the ATP Tour Finals tennis as a birthday gift) it’s time to bring back BOTW Question Time. You asked the questions, I answer them. Simple as that. Will also be throwing in some other bits for you to check out.
“Now we’re getting stuck into the season, which side/player is surprising you the most?” from Ben
I’ll answer both of those because they are different answers. In terms of which team has surprised me most, I’d like to think it’s the same as everyone else and that’s Bracknell. It’s been about 10 weeks since the season started and if you’d told me that the Bees team I saw in that first game of the season would be 4th at the 16/17 game mark, I’d have laughed at you. Something however must be going right to some degree as they’re currently above Guildford and Slough in the EPL table. Tom Annetts has found a rich vein of form which has allowed the hard working Bees to steal wins, the win over Guildford last weekend being a prime example of this. The big question for the Bees is “can they sustain it?” Yes they are 4th but a heavy losses to Manchester and Sheffield show that they are vulnerable and while they sit 4th, they have a negative goal difference. There’s a long way to go but for Bracknell to be this high up the table deserves the credit.
There are surprises player wise but I should say nobody has really been a big surprise one way or the other. Most of the players are pretty much performing to type. One player who isn’t getting enough credit and at the same time is tearing things up at the moment is Greg Wood at the Steeldogs. They are, at the moment, an organisation in crisis, they’ve admitted as much themselves and tried to address that by swapping Dimitri Zimozdra for James Flavell in net. In spite of that Wood, the captain of Sheffield is currently on course for a 97 point season. Now I’ve watched Greg Wood a fair bit over the years both at EIHL level and EPL level and to see him possibly become the massive British points scorer in the EPL does make me very happy. He’s a very hard working guy and deserves the success.
From a Bison perspective, Joe Rand needs a mention in this category as well. I think most of the initial fears about him that some fans have are now firmly thrown out and I can chalk this up in the infrequently used “Banners On The Wall got it right” pile. Isle of Wight fans will also feel vindicated, they were saying all the way through his season at Ryde he’d be good at this level. 13 points from 16 games won’t set the world on fire but Rand’s job is more than that of the out and out point scoring machine and we know that.
“Why is Lyle such a beast?” from Toby
He’s Welsh, ergo he’s part dragon.
The serious answer is he’s arguably the best player in the league right now. There’s little other way to cut it. I don’t particularly believe in luck as a rule but the Bison defensive system is moulded around Lyle and he is an EIHL calibre goalie playing in the EPL.
“Will Bison win the EPL?” from Paul
Nice, simple question there Paul and in the style of the diplomat that I get accused of being, I won’t answer it. It’s way to soon to answer that question. In the heat of the moment in the run in, I may well do it. I think the bigger question Bison fans can ask at the moment is “can” the Bison win the EPL? Bison and Manchester have already opened up a little bit of a gap at the top of the table and are both look almost locked in for the semi finals of the EPL cup. Remember where we found ourselves last season? The Bison next face Manchester at the back end of November in Manchester then the start of December in Basingstoke which will be a massive weekend in the EPL title race. If the Bison win 1 of the 2 games, it would mean that Manchester have to win the other 2 games and drastically outscore the Bison in the process to take the tie breaker between the two sides. That’s a massive 2 weekends for the Herd but an entirely achievable task. Can the Bison win the EPL? With a quarter of the season gone, it certainly looks like they can.
British hockey fan media
This is a topic that’s come up a few times this week on Twitter and it was something that I wanted to comment briefly.
Coventry Blaze webcast’s play by play man Paul Wheeler recently highlighted some in his article for the Blaze’s “On Fire Magazine” here; http://chasingthedragons.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/the-times-they-are-a-changing-uk-hockeys-silent-revolution/ and I highly recommend reading all of them. I also want to thank Paul for including Banners On The Wall on that list. There is also some top quality work coming out of my friends in Manchester at the Official Phoenix Podcast, Alex at Pull The Goalie and Mark “The Angry Budgie” Woodcock and others. Bison fans have here and Trevor Rutter’s “Hockeybloke” blog where he gives a more light hearted look at Bison games. Then I wondered, “why isn’t there more in the EPL?”
I remember seeing one other Flames blog once and now can’t find it again and it seems that British hockey’s silent revolution hasn’t quite spread as far into the sport’s second tier. There are many excellent twitter feeds, people like Ailsa Cordner (@bramalfie) and Chris Kelsall (@Telfordchris71) to name two but I do wonder where the bloggers have gone. If there are others then do let me know, would be delighted to read them because let’s face it, Bracknell Bees website match reports are only entertaining for so long.
I did have someone tweet me during the week saying they weren’t sure if their hockey knowledge was enough to do it and that’s understandable but why not give it a go? To get to the levels of things like A View from the Bridge or The Cat’s Whiskers takes time but everyone has to start somewhere. Why not here? Why not now? I’m not saying everyone will have a go and be amazing at it, some people’s talents lie elsewhere and there’s no shame in that. We’re not all Bob McKenzie, least of all me. However if you want to have a go, have a go. Work hard at it and if you decide it’s not something for the long term then so be it but if it works well, then run with it. It will only improve coverage of the club you support if you get a footing and do well.