THE BITE-SIZED BULLETIN
Poole continued their bright start to the defence of their Championship title with a 50-40 win at Redcar on Friday evening. The Pirates sit in third place in the table behind Leicester and Glasgow.
Picture: COLIN POOLE
HERE’S our latest soundbytes and fixtures from around the tracks up and down the country.
“Track conditions were very tricky after all the rain we had the previous day, and it was very wet in the first few heats so it took a while for it to settle down. But as it was drying out it got a little more grippy on the outside and you really had to hang onto the bike when you were out there, but I quite like the dirt to be honest!”
Aces star Charles Wright revelled in the conditions to top score with 12+1 in the 48-42 victory over King’s Lynn to keep them top of the table.
NEXT HOME: Ipswich, Mon June 6
NEXT AWAY: King’s Lynn, Thur May 19
“Paul has had x-rays on his wrist, and they didn’t find any breaks so hopefully the ligament damage will improve quickly.
We missed him because he has been going really well and it is good that it is the start of the season because hopefully, we are getting all these illnesses and injuries out of the way early doors. Troy was suffering from illness tonight and was also carrying an injury from a crash the other night.”
Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins with an update on the fitness of Paul Starke and Troy Batchelor following Monday’s 43-47 home defeat to Sheffield.
NEXT HOME: Wolverhampton, Thur May 26
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Mon June 6
“After Heat 10 I thought it was written off a little bit, but it shows the character within this group to fight back and come away with a hard-earned point.
The boys knew they hadn’t done themselves justice in the middle block of heats, so they knew they had to pull together, they made some starts and did their jobs.”
Stars boss Alex Brady was content to come away from Belle Vue with a league point on Monday after a battling comeback from 12 points down.
NEXT HOME: Belle Vue, Thur May 19
NEXT AWAY: Ipswich, Thur June 2
The Panthers are building up to staging the opening round of the new Premiership Pairs competition at the East of England Arena next Monday (May 23).
All six clubs will be represented by two of their top four riders, with each side also declaring a Rising Star who must take a minimum of one ride.
NEXT HOME: Premiership Pairs, Mon May 23
NEXT AWAY: King’s Lynn, Mon May 30
“Even after the first couple, I always felt confident that if we kept working hard we could get through to Heat 15 and get the job done.
I’m really pleased with the boys tonight – it was genuine, hard work from them, pulling together, helping one another with set-ups and that and they came back strong and did really well.”
Tigers boss Simon Stead was delighted with his side’s display to win 47-43 at Ipswich after a nightmare start which saw them go 10-2 down in the first two races.
NEXT HOME: Wolverhampton (LC), Thur May 19
NEXT AWAY: Wolverhampton, Mon May 30
“It was a shame the boys lost against Ipswich in the league last week, but missing myself and Dougy (Ryan Douglas) made things tougher.
All the boys seem to like Sheffield though so I’m sure they’ll all contribute and the boys will want to hit back and get into the Final.”
Injured Rising Star Leon Flint is hopeful his team-mates can pull off a big result at Sheffield on Thursday, where a win would take them into the League Cup Final.
NEXT HOME: Sheffield, Mon May 30
NEXT AWAY: Sheffield (LC), Thur May 19
“Leon is currently undertaking both treatment and rehabilitation on his damaged shoulder and we will be monitoring his recovery closely.
One thing we will not do is pressure him to return too soon. I am not alone at this club in having bitter experience of how troublesome damaged shoulders can be.”
Bandits owner Jamie Courtney gives the latest news on the injury to Leon Flint, and will be urging him to only return when the time is right.
NEXT HOME: Glasgow, Sat May 28
NEXT AWAY: Plymouth, Tue May 17
“Adam has been a pleasure to deal with and he would be welcome back to the club at any time – and may indeed find himself being booked as a guest! In the meantime we move forward with Justin, who went well in Australia over the winter and is hungry to kickstart his UK career and hopefully put himself in the frame for a doubling-up spot.”
Co-promoter Nigel Tolley explains the Brummies’ move to bring in Justin Sedgmen to replace Adam Ellis, who was unable to commit to the club’s fixtures due to his extensive European calendar.
NEXT HOME: Oxford, Wed May 18
NEXT AWAY: Oxford, Tue May 17
“Two home defeats and two away is not really what we want is it? It’s tough, without sounding disrespectful we just have a couple of stragglers.
Myself, Kye (Thomson) and Josh (Pickering) can’t really do it all. It’s the same problem as our last meeting here we just weren’t getting off the start.”
Skipper Sam Masters summed up the mood of frustration in the Monarchs’ camp after they slipped to a home defeat against Leicester on Friday.
NEXT HOME: Redcar, Fri May 20
NEXT AWAY: Redcar, Sun May 22
The Tigers are currently four points adrift of leaders Leicester with three matches in hand as they prepare for a big home clash with Poole on Friday – in a repeat of last season’s Grand Final.
NEXT HOME: Poole, Fri May 20
NEXT AWAY: Berwick, Sat May 28
“I’m very, very pleased, and I feel that result gets us up and running. I know we’re 100 per cent at home, but this was away from home, and it’s fair to say that getting the four points was beyond expectations.”
Lions boss Stewart Dickson believes his side are back on track following last week’s impressive win at Edinburgh, having suffered heavy defeats in their first two Championship matches on the road.
NEXT HOME: Scunthorpe (KOC), Sat May 28
NEXT AWAY: Scunthorpe (KOC), Fri May 27
The Diamonds have postponed this weekend’s scheduled home match against Scunthorpe due to track work at Brough Park, and plan to return to action on their own circuit with the visit of Redcar on May 29.
NEXT HOME: Redcar, Sun May 29
NEXT AWAY: Scunthorpe, Fri May 20
“Not only do we want to win, but we’ve got to look to our trip to Birmingham on Wednesday as a chance to pick up some points away too. We need to take the opportunity and be positive by targeting two wins this week.
We want maximum points, of course we do, and that’s what we’ll try and achieve.”
Skipper Scott Nicholls says the Cheetahs have an important couple of days ahead with back-to-back clashes Birmingham coming up home and away.
NEXT HOME: Birmingham, Tues May 17
NEXT AWAY: Birmingham, Wed May 18
The Gladiators have filled the gaps left at reserve by serious injury to Dan Gilkes, and Henry Atkins leaving the club, by signing Ben Morley and Harry McGurk who make their debuts in Tuesday’s home clash with Berwick.
NEXT HOME: Berwick, Tues May 17
NEXT AWAY: Leicester, Sat June 11
“I think we laid down a real marker to the league tonight. To come here and inflict such a solid victory on Redcar who have been unbeaten here this season was an absolutely incredible performance by all the boys.
This was our best performance of the season so far and to do it here was just what the doctor ordered.”
Pirates promoter Danny Ford said victory at Redcar last Friday was a statement result in what is proving to be a strong title defence for the reigning champions.
NEXT HOME: Berwick, Wed May 18
NEXT AWAY: Glasgow, Fri May 20
“It was very good to get a win after the Poole match which was very disappointing. We all struggled yesterday but today was much better! There was something wrong with my bike yesterday but I checked everything over and couldn’t find the problem. For tonight’s match I used a different bike and it seemed to work!”
The Bears’ German star Erik Riss was pleased to return to winning ways at Berwick on Saturday as they slipped to a home defeat at the hands of Poole 24 hours earlier.
NEXT HOME: Edinburgh, Sun May 22
NEXT AWAY: Edinburgh, Fri May 20
“This month is a big month. We’ve still got two home meetings to go, and one away at Leicester, since we’re home and away to them in the cup.
At the end of the day, we want silverware this season. Rob, Gail and Dave put a lot of effort into running this team, and we need to make it happen for them, and us boys want it, and we also need to reward our great fans for their support.”
Skipper Simon Lambert scored a maximum against Oxford and summed up the mood within the club as they look to take things further than last year’s play-off quarter-final qualification.
NEXT HOME: Newcastle, Fri May 20
NEXT AWAY: Leicester (KOC), Sat May 28
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE SOUNDBYTES…
NEXT HOME: Mildenhall, Fri June 17
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Fri May 27
“Jack had a big off in Heat 5 which he was lucky to walk away from. To his credit, he waited and waited to see if he’d be ok to carry on racing but it was clear it wouldn’t have been wise.
That coupled with quite a few of the boys using their second bikes, due to damage to their primary machine, meant we were playing catch up for the rest of the night.”
A tough night for co-boss Steve Williams and the Colts at Leicester, with skipper Jack Smith crashing out of the 59-31 defeat in his second ride.
NEXT HOME: Leicester, Fri May 20
NEXT AWAY: Mildenhall, Sun June 5
“I know that some of our regular Championship spectators still haven’t sampled the special atmosphere surrounding the table-topping Bullets.
All I can say is that you’re missing out on something really special, and it might be worth keeping your diary clear for May 21.”
Club owner Jamie Courtney urges supporters to back their in-form NDL outfit, who provided plenty of entertainment in their recent home victory over Belle Vue.
NEXT HOME: Kent, Sat May 21
NEXT AWAY: Leicester, Sun June 5
The Royals moved up to second place in the NDL table with their second win out of two this season, defeating Leicester 50-40 at Iwade with Alfie Bowtell scoring a 15-point maximum.
NEXT HOME: Berwick, Sun July 10
NEXT AWAY: Berwick, Sat May 21
“Obviously losing Max in his first ride was a big blow, he was challenging for the position when he came down, and we’re all so sad for him after such a good start on Saturday.
Then we had another race stopped when we were on a 5-1 early on in Heat 3, so that was unfortunate as well.”
Ups and downs at the weekend for Dave Howard’s Lion Cubs, with a big home win over Belle Vue followed up by defeat at Kent where youngster Max Perry suffered a broken collarbone in a Heat 2 crash.
NEXT HOME: Mildenhall, Sat May 21
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Fri May 20
“I can only describe today as the ‘Greatest Win that Never Was!’ The way we responded to the blow of losing Ryan and Sam right at the beginning of the match was superb.
Such heroism with our reserves scoring consecutive 5-1s in Heats 1 and 2 – I doubt such a thing has ever happened before in a match. Such application and determination, it must terrify the rest of the league – with victory snatched away from us only by the weather.”
Malcolm Vasey’s Fen Tigers were 31-10 up against Plymouth when rained forced the abandonment of last Sunday’s NDL clash – despite being down to five riders after Ryan Kinsley and Sam Bebee had both crashed out in the opening race.
NEXT HOME: Belle Vue, Sun June 5
NEXT AWAY: Leicester, Sat May 21
NEXT HOME: Plymouth, Wed June 1
NEXT AWAY: Belle Vue, Fri June 3
The Gladiators’ match at Mildenhall last Sunday was abandoned after seven races due to the weather as they trailed 31-10 at the time, with team boss Mattie Bates seeking a replacement for Henry Atkins who has left the club.
NEXT HOME: Leicester, Tues May 24
NEXT AWAY: Oxford, Wed June 1
TUESDAY MAY 17:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Oxford v Birmingham 7.30, Plymouth v Berwick 7pm
WEDNESDAY MAY 18:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Birmingham v Oxford 7.30, Poole v Berwick 7.30
THURSDAY MAY 19:
PREMIERSHIP: King’s Lynn v Belle Vue 7.30
LEAGUE CUP: Sheffield v Wolverhampton 7.30
FRIDAY MAY 20:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Edinburgh v Redcar 7.30, Glasgow v Poole 7.30, Scunthorpe v Newcastle 7.30
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Belle Vue v Leicester 7.30
SATURDAY MAY 21:
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Berwick v Kent 7pm, Leicester v Mildenhall 7pm
SUNDAY MAY 22:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Redcar v Edinburgh 5pm
MONDAY MAY 23:
PREMIERSHIP PAIRS Round 1: Peterborough 7.30
TUESDAY MAY 24:
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Plymouth v Leicester 7pm
WEDNESDAY MAY 25:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Birmingham v Poole 7.30
THURSDAY MAY 26:
PREMIERSHIP: Ipswich v Wolverhampton 7.30, Sheffield v Belle Vue 7.30
FRIDAY MAY 27:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Edinburgh v Birmingham 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP Q/F 1st leg: Redcar v Berwick 7.30, Scunthorpe v Leicester 7.30
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Belle Vue v Armadale 7.30
SATURDAY MAY 28:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Berwick v Glasgow 7pm
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP Q/F 2nd leg: Leicester v Scunthorpe 7.30
BRITISH YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP Round 3: Edinburgh 2.30
SUNDAY MAY 29:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Newcastle v Redcar 4pm
BRITISH YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP Round 4: Glasgow 2pm
MONDAY MAY 30:
PREMIERSHIP: King’s Lynn v Peterborough 7.30, Wolverhampton v Sheffield 7.30
TUESDAY MAY 31:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Plymouth v Edinburgh 7pm
WEDNESDAY JUNE 1:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Birmingham v Leicester 7.30, Poole v Edinburgh 7.30
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Oxford v Plymouth 7.30