This was a season that just goes to prove money doesn't buy you happiness. Reputedly the highest spending member of the league, Stan Marple signed a team that just couldn't quite gel and narrowly failed to light up the British National League. It was made all the more frustrating for Marple's army by the way they came so close to silverware, quarter and semi finals, before flickering out.
In a disastrous start to the campaign, Flames not only failed to retain the Benson and Hedges Plate but were knocked out of the competition in the first round after gaining only one point on the road. Perhaps the team needed longer to settle after Terry Kurtenbach's retirement and the loss of several major import players. Marple's key signings included English defender Paul Dixon from Superleague Newcastle and forwards Basingstoke's heavy hitting Canadian, Chris Crombie and Karry Biette, making the step down from Ayr in a quest for more ice time. Mark McCoy left to make way for 6ft 4in defence man Tom Brown and the well travelled Lee Cowmeadow.
With the added man power by the time the ntl: Christmas Cup rolled round, Flames were able to squeeze past Hull Thunder in the quarterfinals, thanks to club stalwart Ryan Campbell. After rescuing a 3-goal deficit in the first period at home, to win 4-3, all seemed lost when Hull claimed early goals but Campbell's second tally with less than three minutes from time in the second leg was enough to put them in the semis. Nagging doubts that this might not be Flames' year set in when they out shot Bison at home in the first leg only to crash 7-2 to their rivals who got four gaols from Wayne Crawford in the second leg.
Their league chances still looked good, though. In January they were three points behind leaders Peterborough with three games in hand and the only other threat came from Flyers. With the signing of GB Captain Ian Cooper from ISL side London Knights' on deadline day, moral took an upturn for a while.
After a lot of jostling for position by early February, Flames had inflicted their second defeat on Fife in the Spectrum, a rare experience for the all-dominating Flyers, and were top of the table by two points from the Scots. The crunch game came on 12 February in Fife where Flames had lost 5-1 in November. This time they held on for a 2-2 draw with three minutes left.... then collapsed horribly to lose 5-2, improving their league position by one place, finishing as runners-up to the all-conquering Fife Flyers.
With the League title out of their grasp, Flames turned their attention to the one remaining competition and their last chance of silverware for the season. Unfortunately fate dealt them a cruel hand yet again and knocked them out of the playoffs on a three-way-tie-break.
Many personal milestones were achieved during the year. Pete Kasowski and Derek DeCosty scored their 100th goals, Marple coached his 100th game, Campbell scored his 500th assist and John Hepburn jnr. scored his first senior league goal.