THE Basingstoke Bison face a mouth-watering local derby this Saturday (6.30pm) when the Bees buzz into town, writes Graham Merry.

When they last met in Slough on the opening weekend of the campaign, the Bees were 6-3 winners, so the Herd will be out for revenge.

Bison head coach Ashley Tait said: “We did not give a true account of ourselves when we played them last time. So I expect a response to that.”

On Sunday (5.15pm), the Bison have a tricky away clash in Romford against the Raiders.

The Essex side come into the game after their first four-point weekend of the season.

Tait said: “It is a tough place to play. They feed on momentum and the noise from the crowd, so we have to get control early on and remove that element.”

Last Sunday, the Herd suffered another narrow defeat as they lost 4-3 in Yorkshire to the Sheffield Steeldogs.

The home side had the better of the first 20 minutes and led at the first break, thanks to goals from their imports Matt Bissonnette and Valdislavs Vulkanovs.

The second session saw the Bison haul themselves back into the contest, as Aidan Doughty and George Norcliffe combined for Zack Milton to score on the powerplay.

It remained a one-goal game until the 47th minute, when the home side made it 3-1 from Jonathan Kirk.

The visitors replied from man of the match Liam Morris assisted by Marcus Mitchell.

However, the Steeldogs made it 4-2 with Louie Newell’s powerplay strike and despite the Bison’s Marcel Balaz scoring in the final two minutes, the Herd were unable to force an equaliser in the dying moments of the game.

Looking back on the game Tait said: “We did not start playing until the 20th minute. Once we did, we dominated large parts of the contest, but ultimately games are 60 minutes and not 40!”

Last week, the Bison announced Zack Milton had signed on a two-way deal with Elite League side the Guildford Flames.

The Herd remains his parent club and this means the British forward can play for the top-flight Surrey outfit, when the Bison are not in action.

Tait is delighted and said: “He has worked hard and deserves this opportunity. Hopefully, he gets some ice time.”