Warriors and Stars share the spoils in Tyne Tees derby

Whitley Warriors captain and goalscorer Jamie Tinsley. Picture by Colin Edwards
Whitley Warriors captain and goalscorer Jamie Tinsley. Picture by Colin Edwards

Whitley Warriors took on local rivals the Billingham Stars on Sunday night on Tyneside in a NIHL North Division 1 encounter.

Coach Simon Leach was able to select from a strong squad of players as only Adam Reynolds and Jordan Barnes were ruled due to long term injuries.

Both sides started the game passionately and after four minutes Warriors’ Rob Wilson and Stars’ Chris Sykes were sent to the sin bin for holding and roughing respectively.

Both sides took further minor penalties in the opening period but neither side could take advantage of the powerplay opportunities.

Whitley almost took the lead 13 minutes into the game when speedy winger Callum Watson fired just narrowly wide.

Five minutes later Warriors grabbed the opening goal when captain Jamie Tinsley found the back of the net after some impressive build up play from the lively youngster Callum Queenan and Callum Watson.

There were no further goals in the middle session as both netminders, Richie Lawson of Warriors and James Flavell of Stars, produced several fine saves.

Whitley started the third period positively and two minutes in DJ Good’s powerful shot cannoned off the post.

Warriors were creating offensive opportunities with teenage forward Queenan and Dean Holland both troubling Billingham’s defence on a regular basis.

Warriors blue liner Wilson was sent to the penalty box with under four minutes left by referee Wardell for a cross checking misdemeanour.

Billingham made the most of their powerplay opportunity and James Moss fired home to tie the game up.

Warriors pressed forward looking for a game winning goal in the final minutes and came close through both Watson and defenceman Daniel Pye.

Whitley Coach Simon Leach called a time out to finalise his side’s tactics in the final minute but there were no further goals and the game ended level at one goal each.

Warriors forward Harry Harley was chosen as the home team’s man of the match with Stars veteran winger Paul Windridge being chosen as Billingham’s top player during the contest.

Leach said: “It was quite an emotional game, you could call it a typical derby game.

“We are a little bit disappointed with the result as we are creating a lot of chances at the moment but we aren’t just getting the bounces in front of the net.

“Callum Queenan had an outstanding game and he’s getting better and better every week, and for such a young lad to play like that with his speed against Billingham is impressive.

“I was happy with the whole team’s effort and work rate.

“We picked up no further injuries and we’ll be aiming to end 2014 on a positive note when we take on the Blackburn Hawks next weekend on home ice.”

Warriors’ game against league leaders Hawks is on Sunday, December 21.

The match gets under way at Warriors’ customary 5pm face-off time with doors opening 30 minutes earlier.

Admission is priced at £8 for adults and £6 for children with a family ticket for two adults and two children available for £23.