SNL preview: Kirkcaldy eyeing flying start, Solway boss eager to face new challenges

The 2019/20 Scottish National League (SNL) season gets underway this weekend with four fixtures in league and cup competitions.

Kirkcaldy Kestrels visit Dundee Tigers in one of three Stuart Robertson Cup matches taking place on Saturday.

This year’s competition features two groups of four teams split into north and south sections. Each group will be played on a round-robin basis, with the top two teams in each group qualifying for the semi-finals.

The Kestrels were knocked out of the competition at the group stage last season and will be eager to improve on that this time around.

They have strengthened their roster for the new campaign with the addition of three hugely experienced players – Jamie Wilson, Chris Wands and Tommy Muir.

The ex-Fife Flyers trio will bring plenty of Elite League know-how to the club and Wilson says they are eager to make their mark in the SNL.

“There has been a few personnel changes since I was last with the Kestrels, so it’s been a good couple of weeks of getting to know some of the guys,” he said.

“It’s exciting to be back though and the dynamic in the team is good with a real buzz around the squad.

“Saturday can’t come quickly enough for us – we’re looking forward to getting out there in what we expect to be a real tough game against an improved Tigers squad.

“We’ll look to put in a really good team performance and hopefully get a positive result.”

Solway Sharks kick-off their league campaign on Saturday with a home match against against fellow new-boys Belfast Giants SNL.

In addition to icing in the SNL, the Sharks have also retained their place in NIHL North where they will compete in both the league and cup.

All of the Giants’ games are taking place on the Scottish mainland for double points this season and Sharks’ boss Martin Grubb is eager to take full advantage on the opening weekend.

“We are excited to get the season started and take our place in the SNL,” he said.

“We needed more games than the NIHL could offer us and with the SNL improving every year we felt it was the right time for us to join and try and help the league continue to grow.

“There are lots of good teams and players in the league and having kept an eye on teams’ summer recruitment it’s going to be an exciting season.

“We go into every game looking to compete and with the young team we have built we hope to do well and try and make an impact at the right end of the league starting this weekend against Belfast.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

Aberdeen Lynx v Dundee Comets – SRC North
Dundee Tigers v Kirkcaldy Kestrels – SRC North
Kilmarnock Thunder v Murrayfield Racers – SRC South
Solway Sharks v Belfast Giants SNL – SNL

Sunday

Murrayfield Racers vs Paisley Pirates – Exhibition

(Image permission: Fife Flyers)