So far this season the Slough Jets have played four home games, we’ve seen three different referees and three very different officiating styles. I’m not sure if there has been a new EIHA officiating directive issued this summer but it seems that two out of the three officials we’ve seen so far have been calling differently to last season.
We’ve yet to see Dave Cloutman or Nigel Boniface at the Hangar this season but we’ve seen Joy Tottman, Matt Thompson twice and Roman Szucs. There are other referees on the EPL circuit we’ll no doubt see this season as well.
Joy and Roman have both taken very strict stances in their officiating, the result has been penalty dominated games. Matt Thompson has taken a lesser strict approach, communicating with the players when they are close to penalties and calling what’s necessary to keep the game in check.
Dave Cloutman has always had a communication based approach to refereeing. If you are sitting tucked behind the glass it’s not always easy to hear but from the openness of the stage you can hear Clouts talking to players through the game and again he penalises only where necessary. Nigel Boniface is another communication based official.
I’m not saying that any official is doing a bad job, just highlighting the difference in approaches to the job of refereeing a game. There will be people who disagree but remember Joy Tottman is an Olympic official, you can’t get that far in refereeing without achieving a great standard, and that Dave Cloutman, Matt Thompson, Nigel Boniface are all long standing officials and have all plyed their trade at the highest level in the country. We are fortunate to have so many good officials working the EPL and my only worry with regards to officiating is when those mentioned above do decide to hang up their skates will we have enough young officials ready to step into the voids left?
On to last night’s game and while it lacked the excitement of the first game between the two teams it showcased the gap between the two teams that hadn’t as yet been seen this season.
First I have to say how impressed I’ve been with what Gareth Cox has achieved at Bracknell this season. I’m not a fan of Pinc and Cesky as a combination, neither are players I’d want to see on my team, and I think this season’s Bees team are a lot stronger and will provide a lot better competition through not having those two players in the team. The quality of the four imports this season vastly outstrips the four of last season, the Brits in the team this year provide much better support to the imports.
My honest opinion is that I was surprised at the results from the games between the two teams this season so far and I think last night was the result I’d expected in the pre season games and at the Hive last Sunday as well.
For nearly forty minutes last night the Bees kept pace with the Jets but were hurt by a 5 on 3 at the end of the second period which allowed Slough to pull ahead and head to the interval in the ascendancy. The third period from there on was a clinical destruction with three unanswered goals from the Jets pulling further and further ahead and an enforced change of netminder for the Bees with 9.50 left to play.
The most difficult wins to achieve in anything are the first and last. Winning is a habit, the pressure is always there to start winning and then again in a final situation the pressure is massive to win. The Jets now have their first win and their first points on the board and I’m sure this team will now move on and go from strength to strength.
I don’t feel yet we’ve seen the 100% best from this line-up either. I still think there’s more to come and that bodes well in my opinion for the season ahead, unless you’re reading this is a fan of any EPL team other than Slough.
I do think though that a lot of the EPL teams this season will be dedicating time in practice to special teams, powerplay and penalty killing as if the season is going to be refereed in this strict manner there’ll be lots of necessity for both to be firing.