Hill starts as he means to go on

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Telford Tigers’ new-look squad returned to pre-season training yesterday – and forward Phil Hill was immediately on the pace.

The Tigers squad has undergone a string of changes during the summer, with coach Tom Watkins having added four new imports to his team list.

Hill was part of the Telford line-up that finished fourth last year, before crashing out of the play-offs against Milton Keynes Lightning.

The 34-year-old returned from long-term injury for those final-eight encounters, and is determined to put the record straight this season.

He said: “I think there is definitely unfinished businesses from last year and the way it ended, especially personally with how I went out with my injury.

“I enjoy it here and there’s a great group of players, from the older guys to the youngsters. Everyone wants to go one better.

“Any time you go out before the final weekend it is tough, but coming back there is a core of guys with the attitude to improve on the way it ended last year.”

Hill put those memories to the back of his mind yesterday, as Watkins led his squad through a gruelling two-hour opening session.

That pre-season period will continue throughout this week with twice-daily training sessions, as well as off-ice fitness work.

Pre-season games against Milton Keynes will follow next weekend, before daily practice sessions continue the week after.

And with further friendlies against Hull Pirates on September 3rd and 4th, Hill wants to make the most of an intense fortnight.

He added: “There’s a lot of new guys, so the first few sessions are always about getting used to the way they play and see how the chemistry develops.

“Some might not have skated as much during the summer, so there is a lot of hard work ahead for all of us during the next week or so.

“The key is that we get everything we can out of pre-season training, so we start the league season all ready to go.

“My target is always to contribute to the team in every game. My success has been helping teams to win titles and compete in the big games, so hopefully I can continue to do that this year.”

Telford Tigers start their pre-season programme with a trip to face Milton Keynes Lighting on August 27th, before the return game in  Telford just 24 hours later.

On September 3rd they visit Hull Pirates, ahead of a home encounter against Hull the next day.

They start their league campaign away to reigning champions Basingstoke Bison on September 10th, with their first home league game scheduled for September 11th, against Manchester Phoenix.

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