PREVIEW Tuesday 23rd March 2010, 6:43pm
The Scotwaste Monarchs make the first appearance of the 2010 as a team on Friday when they take on the Glasgow Tigers in the Spring Trophy at Armadale.
Glasgow come fresh from a surprise win over Coventry in their opening challenge last Sunday so they will not lack confidence even though Monarchs have had much the better of matches between the sides in the last couple of years. Glasgow are holders of the Spring Trophy and both sides will be very keen to make a strong start against their greatest rivals.
TEAMS FOR THE SPRING TROPHY FIRST LEG AT ARMADALE ON FRIDAY 26th MARCH (start time 7.30, doors open 6.30) are:
SCOTWASTE MONARCHS: Ryan Fisher, Jozsef Tabaka, Kevin Wolbert, Matthew Wethers, Andrew Tully, Max Dilger, Kalle Katajisto.
A-PLANT TIGERS: Travis McGowan, Robert Ksiezak, James Grieves, Lee Dicken, Josh Grajczonek, Jamie Courtney, Mitchell Davey.
TIGERS HOLDERS: Edinburgh have won a remarkable 14 of the last 16 matches against Glasgow, but they did grab the Spring Trophy last March when their 56-37 home win overturned Monarchs' 51-38 lead from their home leg.
These early season matches date back to 1980 and have been quite close; Edinburgh have won 13 times to Glasgow's 10.
ALL MENDED: Last Friday's enjoyable Scottish Open featured an unusual number of spectacular crashes but happily no serious injuries.
Kevin Wolbert's night was a disaster and he crashed heavily twice, though he did complete the meeting. He admitted to feeling bad over the weekend, but by Monday was definitely fitter and ready for the matches ahead.
Max Dilger suffered rib injuries when he was brought off by Michal Rajkowski, and was in some pain, but he has ridden for his Polish team Opole on Tuesday and scored 7 points against Prague.
Kalle Katajisto had machine problems which hampered his efforts last Friday, but dad Timo has worked hard this week to ensure that won't be repeated.
Jozsef Tabaka had a steady start and makes his team debut for Monarchs in Friday's fixture.
So there should be no excuses this week if things don't go to plan against the Tigers.
MEETING SPONSOR: The Agents of Monarchs' highly successful fundraiser the Grand Draw are sponsors of Friday's match with the Tigers.
HOPES SPRING?: Glasgow line up this season with no Shane Parker in their ranks for the first time since 2003. He is effectively replaced by Australian Travis McGowan whose experience and record suggest he should be one of the top Premier League riders this season.
With James Grieves also in the side, Tigers will as usual have a strong top two and their hopes for the season will rest on the progress made by the remainder of their side.
Both Josh Grajczonek and Robert Ksiezak (two of four Aussies in the side) started well last Sunday. It's Grajczonek's third UK season and he shows all the signs of going far.
Lee Dicken has piled up double figure scores on his last two visits to Armadale and Monarchs will probably be quite pleased that he isn't at reserve this time round.
Both teams have plenty of questions to be answered and Friday will be the first chance to guess what these answers might be.
LAST MEETING: Armadale staged the rerun of the 2009 Scottish Open last Friday and it resulted in a win for James Wright, from Ryan Fisher and Andre Compton.
NEXT MEETING: The Scotwaste Monarchs start their Premier Trophy campaign with a tough match against the highly rated Newcastle Diamonds on Friday 2nd April at Armadale.