Greyhounds season limps to sad end with draw and defeat
HARINGEY Greyhounds failed to inject any late joy into a frustrating English League season, ending with a draw at lowly Romford Spitfires and then a crushing defeat against Streatham Redskins over the final weekend, writes Simon Jackson. The disappointing
HARINGEY Greyhounds failed to inject any late joy into a frustrating English League season, ending with a draw at lowly Romford Spitfires and then a crushing defeat against Streatham Redskins over the final weekend, writes Simon Jackson.
The disappointing finale means the 2000 League champions finished fourth, 14 points behind champions Invicta Dynamos. They also came last in the cup competition.
But the Hound's owner and first-team player Jan Bestic, whose squad ended the season without at least 12 first-teamers, has high hopes for the future.
"It has been the most unlucky season imaginable," said Bestic, who has seen the departures of top scorer Scott Cannam, coach Jeff Andrews and No 1 keeper James Tanner in recent months.
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"It was a really disappointing season from the point of view of having so many players capable of winning something but then to have so many injuries."
The Hounds' 2007-8 campaign began promisingly with three wins in four games. They finished the year with a hat-trick of wins. But Hounds were unable to carry the momentum into the New Year and ended their campaign with just two wins in their last 10 games.
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Haringey drew 4-4 with the Spitfires in the penultimate game before the 13-0 thumping by Cannam's new employers, Streatham Redskins.
Bestic, who has played more than 300 games for the club in 12 years, is looking to strengthen the squad in the close season.
"We are looking for a replacement [for Scott] and have spoken to a couple of players," said Bestic. "But what we are going to do first is shut down, re-assess, take some time off and regroup.
"We are looking at several new players to bolster the team but most of the core players are returning.
"We will have a new coach as former player Lee Mercer is taking over from Jeff Andrews, who is planning on moving to America.
"Scott Andrews took over from our No 1 keeper James Tanner for the last games and he did really well with an 80 per cent plus save average and is returning."
But finance is a key factor in attracting top-flight players to the club, says Bestic, who is actively seeking sponsors for the forth-coming season.
"We are going on a big campaign to get sponsors in March because if you don't have sponsors now you will struggle. The money is used for ice time - which cost almost £14,000 last season - equipment and jerseys.
"Ice time is important as the more time we can afford on the ice the more we can practice."
And the 35-year-old has already given plenty of thought to his squad's match fitness for next season.
"We want all the players fit for July and August," said Bestic. "We will probably have three or four pre-season games in August before the season begins in September.
"What our league is about is development [of players]. If I can get the right sponsors in I think we can win the league next season.