Watkins’ warning after Bracknell clash

Tom Watkins has sent out a warning to the rest of the English Premier League, after Sunday’s bruising encounter with Bracknell Bees: “we won’t allow that to happen”.

The game ended in a mass brawl, as players from both sides faced up to each other – even including netminders Sam Gospel and Tom Annetts.

Telford won the game 4-1, following Saturday evening’s 4-2 success in Berkshire, as they started the season as EPL champions for the first time.

And Watkins believes the weekend will serve as a salutary lesson to the rest of the league.

He said: “If guys want to come here, play that way and challenge us, we won’t allow that to happen. Other teams might potentially take that approach with us this season.

“I thought we stuck together well and in some ways, it was good for team spirit. I don’t think we played at our best tonight, but I’m generally pretty pleased with the week as a whole.

“The guys have been on the ice twice a day, with training in between, so they will be a little fatigued. There are a lot of goods things we can take out of this week, as coaches, to help us improve.”

Sunday night’s game in Telford saw the EPL title holders take an early lead, thanks to Dan Davies, after just 60 seconds.

The second period, however, threatened to descend into chaos, with 60 minutes in penalties handed out to Bracknell. Telford received 48 minutes.

The third session saw The Tigers take control, with further strikes from Adam Taylor, Dan Davies and Max Birbraer.

And with the final brawl at the end of the match, the referee decided to bring proceedings to a halt five seconds early.

Watkins added: “Dan’s goal at the start of the game was excellent. I think he dropped his shoulder, moved the netminder around and popped it in the goal.

“It seemed like a very long time ago, as the game dragged on a bit. Macaulay Heywood had an outstanding match. He’s had a tough year, but has bounced back really well.

“Macaulay is a great character and a very talented player. There are areas where he needs to improve, but he was the standout NIHL guy for me.”

On Saturday night, meanwhile, Telford again got off to an early start with a goal from Blaho Novak after just one minute, although the hosts hit back moments later.

The second period saw The Tigers build a two-goal lead with strikes from Peter Szabo and Maynard, before Bracknell made it 3-2 ahead of the final session.

Novak, however, was on target to secure victory on 51 minutes, as Watkins’ side continued their recent dominance over the Berkshire outfit.

“I think because we’ve got a lot of returning players, the guys knew what to expect,” Watkins said.

“It’s all about timing and there were a few things we could do better. They will get better after a week of training, and of course during tomorrow’s game.

“It was a good workout and we identified a few things we can work on. All in all, I was pleased with how the guys played.”

The Tigers return to action on Wednesday night, when they travel to face EIHL play-off champions Coventry Blaze, before hosting Manchester Phoenix in Telford on Saturday (6pm).

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