(SPEEDWAY 1 – FRIDAY REVIEW)
COVENTRY’S reserves were to the fore as the Bees closed in on the Elite League play-off places with a 55-35 win over Lakeside at Brandon.The Bees covered well for their absent riders and were strong in the second half of the meeting after the scores had been level after eight races.Fast Track reserve James Sarjeant enjoyed the best night of his career with 13 points from six rides, whilst colleague Jason Garrity added 10+4. Richard Lawson won his first four outings for the Hammers before missing out in Heat 15.Coventry boss Gary Havelock said: “I’m absolutely proud of every single one of our riders, because on paper this could have been a really tricky meeting.“It was one those evenings where you pray you have a good reserve – and we had two of them!”King’s Lynn re-built their lead at the top of the table back to six points with a 39-24 win over Eastbourne at the Norfolk Arena in a meeting curtailed after ten races due to heavy rain.Lewis Rose was another Fast Track reserve to shine as he top-scored for the Stars on 8+2, whilst Bjarne Pedersen led the way for the Eagles with eight.Somerset’s 59-31 win over Ipswich kept them top of the Premier League – but the victory came at a cost with two of their top riders suffering crashes.Skipper Olly Allen escaped largely unscathed from a crash with Gino Manzares in Heat 7, but Brady Kurtz faces a spell on the sidelines with a broken arm after coming to grief in the final race.Rebels boss Garry May said: “Unfortunately those crashes took the shine off what was a great team performance. Thankfully while Olly is a bit battered and bruised he should be ok for our match on Sunday at Peterborough.“The news about Brady isn't quite as good as he has suffered a break to his arm, first indications being that he could be out for 4-5 weeks, but we'll have a clearer picture on that in the next day or so.”Edinburgh remain just three points behind the Rebels after easing to a 57-32 win over Berwick at Armadale with Sam Masters unbeaten.The Monarchs had to go into two races with only one rider after Aaron Fox was withdrawn due to feeling dizzy, but they had already taken control with three 5-1s in the first five races.Monarchs boss Alex Harkess said: “We thought Bandits would improve on their last visit, and they did a bit, but it was another excellent display by the team.”Berwick manager John Anderson said: “We again had rare moments of success at a track that has once again pulled the carpet from under our wheels but as is becoming monotonous we were just not good enough for enough of the time at this place. No excuses.”Plymouth moved above Peterborough and into the top ten with a 52-38 win over the Panthers at the St Boniface Arena.It was the Devils’ fifth straight home victory, headed up by Ben Barker with 11+3 and in-form Kyle Newman on 10, whilst reserve Nicki Barrett was the Panthers’ top-scorer on 12+1 from seven rides.Plymouth boss Lee Trigger said: “It was another good all-round team performance. We made a good start to take an early advantage and it was pleasing that we had the three match points wrapped up by Heat 14. It meant that, for a change, it was nice to be able to relax in the final heat.”Panthers manager Carl Johnson said: “It was a cracking meeting and the scoreline doesn’t really reflect how it went. Plymouth is always a difficult place to go and we'll dust ourselves down ready for three huge home meetings in the coming days.”Injury-hit Sheffield put up a brave display at Redcar but eventually went down to a 37-53 defeat as the Bears took revenge for their narrow loss at Owlerton on Thursday, with Aaron Summers top-scoring on 12+1.Tigers boss Joe Screen said: “Josh (Bates) did well coming back from his injury but Simon (Stead) was still feeling ill which is why he didn't go out in Heat 15."We are still up against it at the moment, and although we gave it our best shot we just didn't quite have enough in the end.”And Glasgow notched their first away win of the season in style as they romped to a 54-40 victory at Workington to climb to eighth in the table, with ex-Comet Rusty Harrison making a hugely successful return to Derwent Park with a 17-point score.
(SPEEDWAY 2 – SATURDAY PREVIEW)
EASTBOURNE are now chasing the Elite League play-off places as they go back into action at Arlington against Wolverhampton.The Eagles have dropped behind Swindon albeit with three matches in hand, and boss Trevor Geer admits the presence of World Champion Tai Woffinden adds to a meeting which his side require three points from after dropping one to Coventry last week.Geer said: “It still wrankles. The sad thing is that we couldn’t put it right immediately because our match at Belle Vue was rained off on Monday.“Woffinden in full flight is something to behold and our boys will have to be very sharp on Saturday to prevent him running through the card.”Wolves bring in Scott Nicholls, Gino Manzares and Rohan Tungate to cover for absent trio Piotr Pawlicki, Jacob Thorssell and Lasse Bjerre.Woffinden said: “Eastbourne is always a tough place to go, the home guys have the place dialled in, but we’ll go there and give it our best shot. It’s all about ending the season as well as we can and hopefully the guys who are helping us out can have a good night.”Lakeside face Coventry at Purfleet with the two sides meeting for the second time in 24 hours and the Bees expected to return to full strength, whilst the Hammers wait on news from Lewis Bridger and Adam Ellis after they missed last night’s 20-point defeat at Brandon due to illness and injury respectively.Coventry boss Gary Havelock said: “It’s always going to be tough going to Lakeside I’d be happy to come away with a point, anything else is a bonus, and on Monday there are two eminently winnable matches.“Confidence is growing in the team every week, and everyone believes we can do something this season.”Poole are looking to cut the gap at the top of the table to King’s Lynn when they travel to injury-hit Leicester.The Pirates make changes themselves with Craig Cook and Matt Williamson coming in for Vaclav Milik and Benji Compton, whilst the Lions have several concerns to contend with.Manager Norrie Allan said: “Our recent run of good form at home will be severely tested on Saturday. Their top three riders are the youngest trio in the Elite League and are guaranteed to score heavily for Poole. “Admittedly they are without Vaclav Milik but as he has never ridden the Leicester track I believe that the team are stronger with the inclusion of Craig Cook as his replacement. He knows our track having ridden it so many times before.”Poole chief Matt Ford said: “It's a shame that we won't have Vaclav as he has been something of a revelation at every new track he has visited this season, but hopefully in Cookie I have found a guest that will be able to step in to the breach and do a good job for us. “Our good run of form has been encouraging and whilst not taking anything for granted this is a good opportunity to extend our unbeaten form, but we must remember none of our top lads are over-familiar with the Jordan Road Surfacing Stadium track.”A busy night at Shielfield Park sees Berwick stage a double-header starting at 6.30, with the Bandits taking on first Rye House and then Newcastle.Co-promoter Ryan Anderson said: “We are on course to qualify for the end-of-term play-offs for the league title.“However, to do so it is necessary to complete all our home matches by mid-September, and all the rained-out meetings now mean there are more outstanding matches than Saturdays to stage them on!”The Bandits list their regular squad, as do the Diamonds for the second fixture, but Rye House have injury problems and bring in Ritchie Hawkins and Mason Campton for Luke Bowen and Jason Garrity (racing for Coventry) whilst rider-replacement operates for Anders Mellgren.In the National League, second placed Kent visit Stoke who are currently sixth, and seven points outside the play-off places.
LIAM Carr’s season is over after he suffered serious knee ligament damage in his crash at Sheffield on Thursday.Buxton skipper Carr was making a guest appearance for the Tigers, and although initial fears of a broken leg proved unfounded he will still require an operation, which will taken place either in Sheffield or Newcastle.Buxton promoter Jayne Moss said: “We wish Liam well and it’s a big blow for him and us as he and Tony (Atkin) have been our mainstays this season.”(FIXTURES)
SATURDAY AUGUST 23:ELITE LEAGUE: Eastbourne v Wolverhampton 7.30, Lakeside v Coventry 7.45, Leicester v Poole 7.30PREMIER LEAGUE: Berwick v Rye House 6.30, Berwick v Newcastle (follows previous fixture)NATIONAL LEAGUE: Stoke v Kent 7pm
SUNDAY AUGUST 24:PREMIER LEAGUE: Glasgow v Newcastle 3pm, Rye House v Berwick 6pm, Peterborough v Somerset 5pmNATIONAL LEAGUE: Buxton v Kent 3pm, Mildenhall v Stoke 3.30
MONDAY AUGUST 25:ELITE LEAGUE: Coventry v Leicester 2pm, Leicester v Coventry 7.30, Swindon v Lakeside 7.30, Wolverhampton v Eastbourne 7.30PREMIER LEAGUE: Newcastle v Glasgow 6.30, Scunthorpe v Redcar 3pmNATIONAL LEAGUE: Scunthorpe v Buxton (follows PL fixture)CHALLENGE: Kent v Arena-Essex 3pm