HAWKS’ big win sets up showdown with Sharks

Blackburn HAWKS’ irresistible form continued with a 3-1 victory over championship rivals Sutton Sting on Sunday.

The victory moved Blackburn up to third in the table, leapfrogging the Nottinghamshire based side, and recording their ninth consecutive victory in the process.

All eyes now turn to next weekend’s fixture where the Hawks make the long journey north to face table-topping Solway in Dumfries.

A win there could push the East Lancashire side into second place in the NIHL N1 Moralee Conference as the race for the league crown enters its final weeks.

But Player Coach Jared Owen had urged his side to focus on the game in hand last week and his players clearly heeded his warning on Sunday night, delivering a measured performance over a full strength Sutton Side.

Former Manchester captain Jake Nurse put Hawks ahead from Dan Mackriel after 10 minutes at the Blackburn Arena only for Shaun Ashton levelled a minute later for the visitors.

But Hawks moved 2-1 in front in the 16th minute as Nurse found the net again, this time after clever set-up play from captain Chris Arnone.

The hosts extended their advantage to 3-1 in the second period as Mackriel scored from a David Meikle assist, before Arnone went close to adding a fourth goal in the third and final period.

Hawks defended well to prevent Sutton getting back into the game as they extended their winning run, which started with a 7-1 triumph over Billingham Stars in mid-December.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, Chris Arnone said: “I can’t fault anything the lads are doing at the moment, things are going very well and we just want to keep it going.

“I think we might have won 14 in a row last year or the year before that, but this is definitely up there as one of the best runs we’ve been on in my time here.

“The league is as strong as it’s ever been this year but there’s no reason why we can’t keep winning.

“Our aim is not to lose again this season. We said that before Christmas and we haven’t lost yet.

“We do finish seasons strongly and we’ve got two more games at the weekend, so we want to win them and keep picking up the two points.

“We’ll go into the game at Solway confident but not cocky. We’re making sure no-one gets carried away.

“But I’ve spoken to Jared Owen about it and we said if we play as we can, we can’t see how we won’t win.”

Blackburn’s next home game is against local rivals Manchester Minotaurs on Sunday 26 January.

(Photos by John Milton Togger.co.uk)

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