PREVIEW Friday 28th July 2017, 1:00pm
So after the Parsons Peebles Monarchs exploits on Thursday night it’s a different looking affair this week at Armadale as we host the Buxton Hitmen in an intermediate challenge.
The match serves two purposes. The first being to try and aid the develop of some of our second half riders by giving them competitive outings against National League opposition so they can gauge at just what level they are at. Secondly it is a chance for a few of the lower order riders in our team to hopefully go out win races and build some confidence at Armadale with some big SGB Championship matches ahead.
That is not to say anyone will be taking the fixture lightly and as always with any speedway rider once they pull that helmet on the will to win takes over.
The Hitmen come north with a mixture of youth and experience and will be looking to build some confidence themselves after a tough season in the National League.
Leading them was due to be a rider well known at Armadale in the form of Matt Williamson. Williamson of course doubles up with some success with Workington where he has had a stellar season moving from reserve into the main body of the team. Unfortunately Matt took a tumble at Redcar last night while riding for Workington and will now sit out tonight's match. Jacob Bukhave replaces him.
Number 2 is young Jamie Halder. The 18 year old was a recent introduction to the team but has acquitted himself well in his sparse showings so far. A former Coventry product Halder will look to use this fixture to build more experience at a new circuit for him.
One man who has no shortage of experience is former Monarch Lee Dicken. Funky Dicken as he has been christened was a stalwart of the Premier League for many years and it appeared his competitive career was over when he finished up with the Monarchs back in 2011 but the chance to help out Buxton and his son’s development (more on that later) has him back in the saddle and what a benefit it must be for the younger riders in the team to have Lee’s experience to sponge off.
Number 4 for the Hitmen is Shelby Rutherford. Rutherford has had somewhat of a strange season in that he started with the Hitmen then transferred to the Dudley Heathens without seemingly being dropped by Buxton. He has since been replaced at Dudley and will be hoping a strong performance at a track he has raced at before will see him in good stead in National League’s promoter’s eyes.
The man at number 5 needs no introduction as it is a current Monarch in the form of Max Clegg. Clegg of course also rides for Buxton in the National League and it has been decided for the nature of the team sin this fixture he would be better served racing for the Hitmen It will seem strange seeing Max in a white or Yellow helmet colour around the Dale but his battles with Josh and Mitchell should be very interesting indeed.
One of a trio of young Scots in the meeting is Kieran Douglas. Douglas is exactly the kind of rider this match is intended for as he gets the chance to pit himself against the some of the top men in the National League at a track he knows well.
Last but not least for the Hitmen is Kean Dicken. Kean is son of previously mentioned Lee and was making a name for himself in the sports third tier last season when disaster struck and someone (I can’t put the kind of words I would normally reserve for this kind of person) torched Kean’s workshop and all his equipment inside it. It appeared that Kean may be lost to the sport after this but he has managed to piece together enough to resume his career and if he has half the enthusiasm of his father he has a good chance to go far.
So that’s the visitors but what about the home men who will also have an unfamiliar looking team. Monarchs duo Josh Pickering and Mitchell Davey take the heat leader spots at 1 and 5 and Ben Hopwood from Newcastle needs very little introduction.
As for the rest of the team well it is a mixture of young but established National League men and young Scots looking to make their way Luke Ruddick and David Wallinger step into the second string spots, both have had very encouraging seasons at National League level with a few Championship Level guest bookings thrown in also and will be looking to see how they fare against the likes of Williamson and Clegg as they look to take the next step and become top men in the lower tier and no doubt reserve riders in the Championship.
The last two team spots at reserve see Dale Lamb and Kev Whelan take to the track, both are regular faces at Armadale in second halves and it is hoped both will perform well and maybe put themselves into consideration for a National League place if not this season then certainly to start next.
So there you have it an interesting looking match and with admission process slashed across to the board to just £10 for adults and even cheaper for concessions and children then there is no place to be but trackside. Add to this that weather permitting the fans trust will once again be on the fourth bend handing out posters of Erik, Max and Mitchell to kids (of all ages haha) Once again work commitments (it really does get in the way) mean I can’t attend but to all that are I look forward to reading reports on how guys who are the future of the sport performed.