Ryan Giles will have no hard feelings about getting one over his former club when Streatham Redskins take on Invicta Dynamos in this weekend’s two-legged semi-final.
The defender started his career with the Dynamos before moving to London and switching to Streatham last summer.
Redskins are facing their biggest weekend of the season so far with the aggregate winner of the derby earning a spot in the final of the NIHL South One Cup.
Invicta and Streatham have formed a fierce rivalry in recent years and Giles knows this weekend will be no exception.
He said: “They were my home team, I grew up playing juniors there and must have played for them for about five or six years.
“I’m now living in London and playing for Streatham and loving it, but playing against your former team is always good.
“There has been a really good rivalry between the two clubs over the last 10 years or so, so it always builds and adds to the excitement of a good game.
“There is normally some drama and I’m sure it will be no different.
“I’m looking forward to it and I’ll have no hard feelings about knocking them out the cup.”
The 25-year-old knows the importance on winning the home leg on Saturday night and taking an advantage into Sunday night’s deciding game.
He said: “Having the first leg at home is massively important because it sets the tone for the second day, hopefully we fill the rink on Saturday and get a great atmosphere going.
“It is an intimidating place for away teams to come and play when there is a big group of home fans, it is a real community and a real club atmosphere there.
“The atmosphere will be high and hopefully we will walk away with a win and set a precedent for the next day, so we are going to their rink already up and with the psychological advantage.”
Redskins have struggled with fitness so far this season with a number of key players suffering injuries and suspensions for crucial games.
Last weekend at Milton Keynes Thunder, Streatham were so short on forwards they played with three defenders in their offensive line, including Giles, and lost 3-2.
But Giles believes that when the team have a fully fit roster with no injuries or suspensions they are capable of toppling and side in their division.
Nick Chinn, Chris Wiggins and Adam Wood are all expected to return this weekend.
Giles said: “When we have a full team we can beat anyone in this league definitely.
“It is just getting everyone together at once, everyone fit and no bans in the squad. “When we are rolling and on top form we are unstoppable in my opinion.
“The team is coming back to nearing full strength even if it is not quite a full squad yet.”
The home leg on Saturday starts at 5.30pm.
Feature image of Rick Giles against Invicta Dynamos earlier this season courtesy of Rick Webb, with thanks