Cardiff Fire's Martyn Gray.

Caerphilly’s Martyn Comes Home To Play With Fire

Caerphilly-born Great Britain universities international Martyn Gray is returning to South Wales and has signed for National League Cardiff Fire.

Gray, aged 26, has committed to Fire, who start their National League Britton South One season against Romford Raiders away on Saturday.

Their opening home fixture will be against Solent Devils on Saturday, September 22.

“I’m delighted to bring Martyn back to Cardiff,” said Fire head coach Mark Cuddihy. “I have admired his game for a long time. He is a neat and tidy defenceman that makes good, calm decisions. 

“I worked briefly with Martyn for the NIHL select team against the Basingstoke Bison a couple of years ago and he handled himself brilliantly in that game. 

“I spoke to him afterwards and he said it was always his intention to return home in the future. So I was delighted when he agreed to sign with the Fire this season.”

Gray has signed for Cardiff Fire from Oxford City Stars. He started his junior career in Cardiff before moving to Swindon where he spent the next five seasons playing under-16, under-18, NIHL Two and NIHL One hockey. 

Cardiff Fire’s Elliott Murdoch in a tangle. Pic: James Assinder Photograohy.

He then moved North to Sheffield where he signed for the Sheffield Senators in NHL North, playing 112 league games. 

Gray, who has played almost 250 senior matches, returned south for 2016-17 and signed for Bracknell Hornets in NIHL One before spending the next two seasons playing for Oxford City stars winning the NIHL 2 South league title.

Fire’s NIHL One team are preparing for their opening fixture at Romford in Essex this weekend, while the club’s second string opened their campaign with a home victory.

They defeated Bristol Pitbulls 5-4 at the Viola Arena and the big moments came when Fire scored three goals in two minutes and five seconds during the second period.

Newport-born Elliott Murdoch, aged 21 and sponsored by Sammy’s Barbers of Newport, scored the first of the quick fire treble, when he netted after 46-12. 

That made the score 3-3 and livewire Lewis Stevens put Fire ahead on 46-33, only 21 seconds after Murdoch’s strike.

There was more joy for the home team when last seasons Fire player of the year and coaches player of the seasonElis Sheppard found the net on 48-17 – the third goal in 125 seconds.

Pitbulls pulled a goal back, but Fire’s second string held on for a hard-earned victory.

Cardiff Fire goalscorer Elis Sheppard.

Match stats:

Scorers, Fire: Jordan Powell 2+2, Elliott Murdoch 1+2, Elis Sheppard 1+0, Lewis Stevens 1+0, Carter Lloyd 0+1, Ross Wilkinson 0+1.

Pitbulls: James Newton 1+0, Daniel Williams 1+0, Joshua Dolphin 1+0, Grant Richardson 1+0, Michael Hargreaves 0+1, Liam O’Connell 0+1, Nathan Darmanin 0+1, Adam Coakley 0+1.

Period scores (Fire first): 1-1; 1-2 (2-3); 3-1 (5-4)

Shots on goal: Fire (on Graeme Bird) 47, Pitbulls (on James Whiting) 27

Penalties in minutes: Fire 0+8+4=12, Pitbulls 4+6+2=12

Cardiff Fire – next five fixtures in National Ice Hockey League Wilkinson South Two

September

Sunday 15: Basingstoke v Cardiff Fire (6.15pm)

Sunday 22: Cardiff Fire v Solent Devils (2pm)

Sunday 29: Swindon Wildcats v Cardiff Fire (6.15pm)

October 

Saturday 5: Bristol Pitbulls v Cardiff Fire (5pm)

Sunday 6: Cardiff Fire v Basingstoke Buffalo (6pm)

Cardiff Fire South One signings:

Netminders: Lewis Davies, James Whiting, Ben Scanlon.

Skaters: Martyn Gray, Deakan Fielder, Elis Sheppard, Carter Lloyd, Iwan Davies, Elliott Murdoch, Morgan Evans, Sam Bryant, Lewis Stevens, Cameron Basnett, Joe Morris, Tom Smith, Josh Haslam, Ben Smith.

Cardiff Fire fixtures 2019-20

NIHL Britton South One

September

Saturday 14 v Romford Raiders 2 (away)

Saturday 21 v Slough Jets (away)

Sunday 22 v Solent Devils (home)

Sunday 29 v Slough Jets (home)

October

Saturday 5 v Bracknell Hornets (away)

Saturday 12 v Streatham (away)

Saturday 19 v Solent Devils (away)

Sunday 20 v Bracknell Hornets (home)

Saturday 26 v Chelmsford Chieftains (home)

November

Sunday 3 v Milton Keynes Thunder (home)

Saturday 9 v Chelmsford Chieftains (away)

Sunday 10 v Bracknell Hornets (home)

Saturday 16 v Invicta Dynamos (home)

Sunday 24 v Milton Keynes Thunder (away)

Saturday 30 v Romford Raiders (home)

December 

Saturday 7 v Streatham (home)

Sunday 8 v Oxford City Stars (away)

Saturday 14 v Invicta Dynamos (away)

Sunday 15 v Solent Devils (home)

January 

Saturday 4 v Romford Raiders (away)

Saturday 11 v Romford Raiders (home)

Sunday 12 v Milton Keynes Thunder (away)

Saturday 18 v Streatham (away)

Sunday 19 v Oxford City Stars (home)

Saturday 25 v Invicta Dynamos (home)

Sunday 26 v Bracknell Hornets (away)

February

Saturday 1 v Slough Jets (away)

Saturday 8 v Chelmsford Chieftains (home)

Sunday 9 v Invicta Dynamos (away)

Saturday 15 v Chelmsford Chieftains (away)

Sunday 16 v Oxford City Stars (home)

Saturday 22 v Solent Devils (away)

March 

Saturday 7 v Milton Keynes Thunder (home)

Sunday 8 v Oxford City Stars (away)

Saturday 21 v Streatham (home)

Sunday 29 v Slough Jets (home)

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