BLACKBURN Hawks coach Jared Owen insists the club were not going to stand in Jordan Bannon’s way after he moved to Telford Tigers to enhance his international ambitions.
The 18-year-old opened the scoring in Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with Sutton Sting, having spent three days of last week at Great Britain under 20 trials.
Bannon was the only English National League player to have been invited to the trials and, with a number of Premier League clubs looking at home, has now opted to make the step up.
He said: “A few EPL clubs were looking at Jordan and the GB coaches were very impressed with him last week as well.
“They told him he really needed to be playing in the league above though as he is only the player from this league to even be at the trials.
“We would never hold him back.
“It is a massive opportunity to play with Great Britain and to go up a league. It is a big honour to even be invited to the trials.
“It is good for the club as well because it shows us in a good light and shows we look after our players. It could encourage a few more players to come our way.”
Owen revealed he is hoping to hold talks with a couple of potential new signings this week after admitting they need to be more clinical in front of goal.
Goals from Bannon and a deflected strike from Myles Dacres were not enough to secure max-imum points against a gutsy Sutton outfit, as the visitors stole a point in the dying seconds.
“It was a dropped point,” he said.
“We had four breakaways and three two-on-ones but we didn’t finish them clinically enough. We know we need to improve that.
“We are talking to a couple of lads this week about signing, some returning Hawks, and we are confident we are heading in the right direction.
“We don’t have a match this weekend, which is a bit frustrating, because Telford’s rink isn’t ready.”
Hawks were without Danny Mackriel and Chris Butler, but making his Hawks debut was U18 Reece Cairney Witter – a recent signing from Bradford, and Ivo Dimitrijevs was making his first appearance in front of the home fans.
The hosts took the lead in the second period when Bannon escaped his marker and closed in on goal, and after having time to weigh up his options, finished with a sublime finish.
Danny Brittle and ex-Hawk Scott Glover clashed – with the keeper reacting to interference from Glover and being given a roughing call.
Brittle sat out the two minutes and, as he and Glover returned to the ice, Sutton forced home an equaliser from close in.
The period was then prematurely brought to a halt after Lance Derbyshire received a ‘slash’ to the wrists from Wild.
As a result, penalties were banded about liberally to both teams, and with tempers reaching boiling point, the referee decided to call a halt to proceedings with two minutes remaining in the period.
Hawks retook the lead when Dacres’ shot was bundled over the line after a scramble.
But in a final flourish to tie the game, the Sting players poured forward and were rewarded with a goal when a speculative shot through a crowd slid beyond the despairing lunge of Brittle.