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Double trouble.

Byline: Ice Hockey

Billingham Bombers suffered a double whammy of defeats as their poor start to 2007 continues.

Bombers, who lost 8-0 at Nottingham last weekend, suffered an 8(1 home setback defeat at the hands of local rivals Newcastle Vipers in the English National Ice Hockey League (North).

That hammering came 24 hours after Billingham were beaten 4-1 at Dundee Stars in the Northern League.

Bombers stayed with the Stars in an opening period that closed scoreless.

A single marker from the Stars, though, gave the Scots the go-ahead goal at the end of the second. The Stars hit their second as Canadian Patric Lochi struck on the power play.

Bombers reduced the deficit as captain Paul Windridge fired home short-handed, assisted by James Mountrey.

Dundee turned up the heat in the third adding two more goals to take their haul to four.

Bombers returned to Teesside at 4am on the morning of the Vipers game.

Newcastle' early efforts paid off, as they took an unanswered four-goal lead into the dressing room at the end of the first session.

The Tynesiders took their tally to six, before skipper Windridge hit Bombers' solo marker assisted by Andy Fletcher and James Mountrey.

Vipers' answer was swift, as Jeremy Lundin hit Newcastle's seventh goal 18 seconds from the end of the second period.

Bombers lost key defender Jamie Pattison in the second, after a blow to the knee that may prove to be a season ending injury. Vipers added a single marker, in the third session to seal an 8(1 victory.

Disheartened Billingham coach Terry Ward said: "We were poor.

"I could put it down to the long trip to Dundee, but we are struggling to score, we have lost our intensity, and need to take stock and re-group."

Other results in the English league meant Bombers remained in fifth place, but now have a three-point gap between themselves and the crucial fourth place, which ensures qualification for the end of season play-offs.

That place, much coveted by Bombers, is currently occupied by Sheffield Scimitars Academy.

Billingham manager Allen Flavell said: "This has become the season after the Lord Mayor's Show.

"Teams are coming here looking to beat last year's champions.

"It is very frustrating for the Bombers players. Without the financial means to progress up the league structure, we find it difficult to maintain any momentum."

However, there is some good news from the Billingham camp to report.

James Mountrey has been selected to represent Great Britain in the Division One, Group B, Under-18 World Championships, which take place in Sanok, Poland, from April 4-10.

Bombers' team at Dundee: James McCabe, James Parrish, Paul Windridge (captain), Scott Ward, Ricky Box, Andrew Tindale, Scott Harrison, Rory Dunn (net-minder), Chris Outhwaite (net-minder), Michael McKenna, Darren Carroll, James Mountrey.

Bombers' points scorers Dundee: Windridge 1 + 0, Mountrey 0 + 1

Bombers' team at Newcastle: Stuart Gibbon, James McCabe, James Parrish, Paul Windridge (Capt.), Scott Ward, Ricky Box, Andrew Tindale, Scott Harrison, Simon Hehir, Andrew Fletcher, Rory Dunn (net-minder), Chris Outhwaite (net-minder), Michael McKenna, James Mountrey, Andy Thornton, Stephen Hewitson, Christian Shepherd, Gareth Hughes.

Bombers' points at Newcastle: Fletcher 1 + 0, Windridge 0 + 1, Mountrey 0 + 1
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 16, 2007
Words:532
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