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Fri 29 Mar 2013 by Comets Press Office
WORKINGTON COMETS v NEWCASTLE DIAMONDS
(Ian Thomas Shield, 1st leg) Saturday 30th March at 7:00pm, Derwent Park, Workington

The new promotional team at Workington Speedway aim to get the 2013 season off to a flying start against their closest rivals, the Newcastle Diamonds, in the first leg of the inaugural Ian Thomas Shield on what promises to be a special occasion for the supporters as they welcome in a new era of speedway at Derwent Park.

This meeting is in honour of the former Comets and England team manager, who passed away just over two years ago, and who was the man responsible for introducing the sport to Derwent Park in 1970 before later re-launching Newcastle in 1975 and then returning to Workington to help Tony Mole revive the Comets in 1999.

While this meeting has no league points at stake the Comets will be looking to get their campaign off to a winning start against the team that finished top of the table ahead of last year's league title play-offs; and with the Diamonds side containing five of the septet that performed so well last season it promises to be a keenly anticipated clash between two well-matched sides.

Additionally there will be a special opening night attraction for the fans with the appearance of seven-times, and current, British Speedway Champion Scott Nicholls, who will take on three Comets riders in a series of individual match races, as well as being available for autographs and photographs with the fans throughout the evening.

There will also be an appearance by ‘Staro Bando' a 7-piece Latino Brass Band in the stadium car park to welcome the fans into the stadium, Free face painting, Free Goodie Bags for Children on entry, Centre Green entertainment from the ‘Crosby Amateur Musical Society' and also from female duo ‘Emma & Sarah' with a Grand Finale Fireworks Extravaganza to close the show.

The turnstiles open at 5:30pm with the meeting getting underway at 7:00pm.

The Comets have been able to retain the nucleus of last season's successful side. However, they do go into the meeting without their new Australian capture from Glasgow, Mason Campton, who is still awaiting final visa clearance to leave Australia. In his place, riding as a guest reserve for the evening, is Rye House's Simon Lambert, who has a good past record around the wide open spaces of Derwent Park.

But, with the Comets powerful heat leader trio of skipper Richard Lawson, Rene Bach and the return of Rusty Harrison they should pack plenty of fire-power at the top end of the score-charts, additionally with Tero Aarnio and rising British star Kyle Howarth filling up the middle order the Comets have a solid looking top five and with the ever-improving Ashley Morris occupying the other reserve berth the side looks well set up to take on the Diamonds.

Newcastle have been hit by a pre-season injury to their winter signing from /edinburgh, Andrew Tully, who crashed during their pre-season practice and suffered a back injury. In his place they will operate Rider Replacement. Meanwhile the all action Stuart Robson leads the team, which includes the return off the exciting Richie Worrall, who made great strides last season before a broken leg suffered at Workington in mid-season halted his progress. But, he is now fit and raring to make up for lost time in the coming season.

Providing support to them are Australian Christian Henry and Sweden's Ludvig Lindgren, both of whom have showed up well on past visits to Derwent Park, while at reserve is Steve Worrall, twin brother of Richie, and their new recruit from the National League, Lewis Kerr, who will be making his first appearance at Workington although he has previously had an outing for the Comets when called upon as a reserve in the 2011 PL Fours final at Leicester.

Team line-ups:

WORKINGTON ‘THOMAS ARMSTRONG' COMETS
1 Richard Lawson (Capt.), 2 Tero Aarnio, 3 Rusty Harrison, 4 Kyle Howarth, 5 Rene
Bach, 6 Ashley Morris, 7 Simon Lambert (G)

NEWCASTLE ‘SAPPHIRE ENGINEERING' DIAMONDS
1 Stuart Robson (Capt.), 2 Christian Henry, 3 Richie Worrall, 4 Ludvig Lindgren, 5
Rider Replacement for the injured Andrew Tully, 6 Lewis Kerr, 7 Steve Worrall.
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Last Updated :  Sun 31 Mar 2013, 00:33 UK
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Photography
Dave Payne, Adrian Randall