Pirates Debut !

Everything about Peterborough Pirates' British League Division Two debut at the East of England Ice Rink last night was impressive. There was a good crowd of over 300 excitable spectators - many of them young girls waving banners and donning Pirates tee-shirts, a bright and informative programme for sale, a hard-working fan club selling a wide variety of favours and a devastating display on the ice.

Inspired by Canadian imports Rob Carnegie and John Lawless, Pirates sent the illustrious stars of Streatham packing on the end of a 12-4 scoreline. It was a superb start for the city side and the signs are that ice hockey will catch on in a big way in Peterborough. Streatham have one of the best reputations in the business and last May hammered Pirates 9-1 in a friendly match. Things were so different on this occasion, however, and Pirates gained revenge in cracking style.

After surging into a 4-0 lead inside ten minutes, they never looked back and whenever the two Canadians were on the ice Pirates were firmly in control. Carnegie, a tall, powerfully built defender, almost effortlessly ruled at the back and constantly unleashed fierce long-range shots that troubled the Streatham goal minder. Lawless, who like Carnegie comes from Toronto, mesmerised the Streatham defence With his lightning pace and clever stickwork. Small in stature but huge in guts and determination, he carried off the man-of-the-match award with Carnegie winning the best defender prize - both attractive trophies being donated by match sponsors Main Street Antiques of Yaxley. Both players grabbed three goals apiece and assisted most of the others.

Their ambition is to help Pirates to promotion in their first league season and on last night's evidence there appears to be every chance of that happening. Carnegie opened Pirates' account after two minutes when he hammered home from 20 yards after an assist by Mike Andrews and then he supplied the assist for Glenn Skidmore to tap in from close range. Skidmore went on to get two more goals in the first session and there was one each for Lawless and John Hunter with assists coming from Andrews (three times) and Lawless.

On the few occasions that the Pirates' defence was caught napping, goal minder Ian Cade saved superbly. He was given no chance with one effort from Bill Johnston and at the end of that first session Pirates led 6-1. Early in the second period, Carnegie laid on a goal for Lawless, who then skated skilfully round the entire Streatham defence before unselfishly providing Skidmore with a scoring pass. Streatham began to employ some 'hard-man' tactics in an attempt to stem the tide but nobody was harder than Carnegie and he brushed aside some hefty tackles to create a goal for Andrews. Streatham pulled one back just before the second break-and the score was 9-2. Johnston then completed his hat-trick for Streatham before Carnegie smashed in two goals inside a minute. Lawless then made it a dozen before Streatham's Pat O'Halleron completed the scoring.

The only sad thing about Pirates' success was that Granville 'Granny' Raper missed the celebrations, having been taken to hospital with concussion early on after being dumped into the boards by Darryl Morvan. The Pirates team was: Ian Cade, Phil Tilley, Rob Carnegie, Sandy McDonald, Trevor Salisbury, Robin Colton, Barry Cade, Tony Hunter, John Lawless, John Hunter, Granville Raper, Kevin Hunter, Roger Mawditt, Glenn Skidmore, Paul Cox, Mike Andrews and Dave Southwell.