The Raiders announcements continue this week on the theme of future proofing and youth inclusion but both of this week’s signings have already proven themselves at this level, eliminating the traditional element of risk.
We are pleased to see the signature of Thomas (Ziggy) Beesley for his second term at the Raiders the day after his 20th Birthday (Thursday 15th) , so happy birthday for yesterday Ziggy!
Ziggy was signed last season as a player well known to coach Alan Blyth but something of a mystery to the rest of us and that included opposition fans and coaches who wondered where this pain in the neck appeared from.
He made an immediate impression, quickly becoming a fans favourite, scoring 7 goals and 15 assists in 40 appearances in all competitions, missing just one game against Milton Keynes. His contribution to the team was recognised by his peers whose’ votes won him a deserved Players Player of the Year award in April.
Before joining Raiders, Ziggy made 58 appearances in the EPIHL for Bracknell Bees scoring 4 goals and six assists, and made an international appearance for England Under 19 against Scotland. Prior to making the step up to senior hockey, Ziggy learned his trade in the Bracknell junior system culminating with being a member of The Bracknell Drones U18 national championship winning team for whom he made 30 appearances, scoring 25 goals and 41 assists for 66 points
No doubt typed with his traditional beaming grin Ziggy added,
“After being in contact with Sean and Alan I’m delighted to be a Raider for a second year! The whole club and my fellow teammates have been really supportive of me during my first year in the capital and it’s been an experience to play amongst guys like Kinger, Julian, Tommy etc. I’m also looking forward to returning to playing against some 2nd tier teams after the league restructure, which will be familiar, especially when playing in Gold and Blue in front of our fans; best in the league I must say! Finally, it will be solid to get on the ice with some of the newer guys coming into the organisation and getting to bond with these players coming in. It will be a long summer in preparation but we won’t disappoint, see you September folks. ZB12”
Sean Easton gave his quick appraisal of his new charge.
“Ziggy’s a youthful speedy forward, that is always a thorn in a d mans side. A great forechecker always hustling to win a battle. Plenty of speed and grit and his agility will be a pain to deal with”
Welcome back Ziggy!
This week’s second signing is another familiar face to the Raiders set up but that familiarity we are sure will not dilute the enthusiasm of his return.
Age 19 now he was another member of the Romford Hornets National Championship Under 16 winning team under Alan Blyths coaching. He iced 58 times for the Hornets scoring 56 goals and 36 assists for 92 points. In the final season at RVW in 2012/13, He made a total of 35 appearances for Hornets and Buccaneers, scoring 70 goals and 41 assists for a total of 111 points.
That early promise has returned results year on year despite the closure of the Romford rink. Moving to the Chelmsford development system he has progressed making 34 appearances for Mohawks, scoring 45 goals and 39 assists for 80 points. He continued into senior hockey for the Warriors in NIHL2 making 62 appearances, scoring 70 goals and 50 assists for 120 points and was a key member of the triple winning Warriors team in 2015/16.
He made his Chieftains debut in 2014/15 season and made 82 appearances scoring 32 goals and 30 assists for 62 points, picking up a clutch of trophies as part of the all-conquering Chieftains squad.
It is worth absorbing those numbers before announcing that Jake Sylvester is the proud possessor of such an impressive record which we are sure he will add to now back in the Gold and Blue.
“I am very excited to be returning to the Gold and Blue and to be a part of a club with as much history as this one is an honour. I am looking forward to the challenge this year with the league changes and to have a fan base as large as the Raiders have is going to be exciting to play in front of. It’s going to be a fun season with new team mates and can’t wait to get started”
Sean Easton knows well Jake’s abilities having coached him over the past few years.
“Jake is a real talent having had a fantastic 16/17 season and producing points of a senior player due to playing beyond his age. Jake is a smooth skater, fast, skilful and knows where the net is. That’s our attributes this year, we will be a fast skating skilful team that won’t know when to stop”