Tigers Coventry-bound after beating Steeldogs

Tigers Coventry-bound after beating Steeldogs

Telford Tigers face a Coventry showdown with Basingstoke Bison after they qualified for the play-off finals with an 8-0 drubbing of Sheffield Steeldogs.

The EPL champions will play Basingstoke in their semi-final next Saturday evening, with the winners playing either Milton Keynes or Guildford in Sunday’s final.

Sunday’s win over Sheffield meant Telford finished second in Group A, two points ahead of Peterborough Phantoms.

Tigers coach Tom Watkins believes playing in the second semi-final game at the Skydome next Saturday could prove to be an advantage.

He said: “Whoever wins the semi-final will have a bit less rest before the final on Sunday, but it also means the routine won’t change.

“Guys will be eating at the same time they normally do on a match day and I think that could be a plus.

“We are comfortable with whoever we play next weekend. We’re going there to try and win a second trophy this season.”

Sunday night’s encounter saw Telford take the lead after just five minutes, thanks to a strike from defenceman Jonathan Weaver.

Doug Clarkson doubled that advantage on 16 minutes, before Jason Silverthorn added a third just seconds later.

And the hosts ended the session with a 4-0 lead, courtesy of a Gareth O’Flaherty strike on 18 minutes.

Watkins added: “We were a bit slow to start and a bit flat, but then we got those three quick goals on around 16 minutes. It was probably over as a contest by that point.

“Then we rested players and it was just about getting the minutes done, but also avoiding injuries.”

The second period started with a Lubomir Korhon strike on 23 minutes, while Clarkson collected his second goal of the game just moments later.

Clarkson – who announced his retirement at the end of the season over the weekend – then secured his hat-trick just before the interval.

The 6ft, 5ins start added his fourth goal of the night – and Telford’s eighth – at the start of the final period.

Watkins added: “We put the younger guys into the game later on, but they still have to understand that they can’t take their foot off the gas in those situations.

“I wanted them to treat it as a chance to gain something from the game.”

Attachment

Corey McEwen watches his shot go wide