Parry points to positives after Hobs Moat heartbreak

“In my eyes they’re all champions” – Jason Parry delivered a stirring address to The Tigers NIHL players after Monday night’s 4-3 defeat to Solihull Barons in the Laidler Conference final.

A dramatic encounter at Hobs Moat Road saw Telford take an early lead, before the reigning champions fought back in a heart-stopping play-off climax.

That performance almost brought to an end Solihull’s two-year unbeaten streak at semi-professional level – an unofficial world record.

But for Parry, the immediate task was to highlight a stunning performance from his young side.

He said: “The boys are just gutted. They worked so hard tonight and I said to them afterwards that in my eyes, they’re all champions. It will take a little while to sink in, but the guys will learn from this.

“I thought we stuck to our game plan well, but Solihull are a good team and came at us really hard.”

The first period was a typically cagey affair, with both sides going desperately close to breaking the deadlock. But Tigers netminder Denis Bell was in fine form to deny a brutal Solihull attacking line.

The second session, however, was entirely different, as Telford opened the floodgates on former Telford netminder Josh Nicholls. James Smith gave his side a deserved lead on eight minutes, before Brad Betteridge struck just 40 seconds later.

Josh Cosgrove added to that advantage after twelve minutes with a long-range effort that trickled through Cosgrove’s legs. The hosts equalised with seven minutes remaining to give themselves a glimmer of hope ahead of the break.

The third period was equally tense, with a second goal from Solihull to send up a grandstand finish. And two more strikes from the Barons broke Telford hearts, with the winner coming just four seconds from time.

Parry added: “I am just so proud of them and it’s not just me. Scott McKenzie was lost for words afterwards and we also got a message from Tom Watkins. He said it might not feel like it now, but they should be proud of their performance.

“I have said all along that this team has grown up throughout the year. The squad was only put together two weeks before the season started and they have just done so well.”

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