Bandits' Smith and Bellego Image Credit: Ron MacNeill


NEWS Wednesday 24th April 2013, 10:33pm

by Mike Hunter

The Scotwaste Monarchs made a great start to their League Cup campaign last Saturday at Berwick but need to follow up with three points at home against the Bandits on Friday.

This would move them to the top of the section with just the home and away matches with Glasgow to come. Ten-year Monarch Matthew Wethers makes his return to Armadale in his new colours so the Bandits will not lack advice on how to ride the track. Bandits’ no. 1 Ricky Ashworth is out following his crash in the British semi-final last Friday and it appears the Bandits are choosing to go with the rider replacement facility.

TEAMS FOR THE LEAGUE CUP MATCH AT ARMADALE ON FRIDAY 26th April (start time 7.30, doors open 6.30) are:

SCOTWASTE MONARCHS: Craig Cook, Derek Sneddon (capt.), Theo Pijper, Max Fricke, Claus Vissing, Marcel Helfer, Jozsef Tabaka.

BERWICK NEW HOLLAND BANDITS: Rider replacement for Ricky Ashworth, David Bellego, Kozza Smith, Matthew Wethers, Robin Aspegren, Alex Edberg, Nicki Barrett.

SECTIONS TAKING SHAPE: There are four sections in the League Cup this season with the winners of each going through to the semi-finals. It is proving to be a lively competition.

Already Sheffield have sprung something of a surprise by winning the midland section from Leicester and league champions Scunthorpe.

In the northern section, Newcastle seem to have the upper hand over Workington and Redcar as long as they don’t slip up in their home and away matches against the Bears.

Down south it is between Ipswich and Rye House, and the Witches will qualify if they take 3 points from their home match with Plymouth. If they don’t, Rye House could snatch it with Plymouth themselves an outside bet.

DEREK’S TESTIMONIAL: Friday will be launch day for the Derek Sneddon Testimonial. Derek’s Testimonial committee will be in the Hospitality area during Friday’s match.

More details will be issued shortly with the provisional field for the Testimonial which is on 13th September will be announced.

WETHERS IS BACK!: No prizes for naming the most experienced rider of Armadale in Friday’s meeting.

Matthew Wethers has ridden in 234 meetings at Armadale, and although even he hasn’t started from the new gate position, that beats Theo Pijper’s 154 meetings or Derek Sneddon’s 122.

It won’t be the first time Matthew has been in opposition to Monarchs at Armadale, because in 2005 he rode for Glasgow in the early part of the season and had one visit to Armadale with the Tigers.

BANDITS LEAD: A historical / statistical note: even though Monarchs have tended to have the upper hand in recent times, Berwick still lead the overall record between the clubs 61-56 with 4 draws.

SOLID BANDITS: Ever since they put their side together, Berwick have been called ‘solid’ by virtue of the fact that all of their riders are capable of winning races, and right down to reserve they have riders who should be capable of big scores.

The downside of such a side can be a lack of strength at the top end, but the Bandits certainly have the potential to do well if all of their riders are at their best.

It looks as though they are surprisingly opting for rider replacement for their no. 1 Ricky Ashworth, but they have riders who should be able to cope – notably of course Matthew Wethers, the second highest ever scorer at Armadale.

Their most impressive rider last Saturday was David Bellego, the very talented French rider who has a win over Craig Cook at Armadale on his record.

Kozza Smith’s enthusiasm is never in doubt, and Robin Aspegren is a quality Swede. Nicki Barrett has scored well at reserve so far though Alex Edberg has admitted that his confidence is at a low ebb.

Another feature of a solid side is that it can be unpredictable – so that’s probably what we’ve got for Friday!

LAST MEETING: The British semi-final was won by Danny King (14) from home rider Craig Cook (14), the winner being decided on the basis that King beat Cook when they met. It was a highly successful event.

NEXT MEETING: The Scotwaste Monarchs start their Premier League campaign at Armadale on Friday 3rd May with a match against the Champions Scunthorpe. As last year, the top six teams at the end of the league matches will race in a Playoff to decide the title.