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MEETING PREVIEW - Comets v Sheffield
Photo by Dave Payne
Fri 19 Apr 2013 by Comets Press Office
WORKINGTON COMETS v SHEFFIELD TIGERS
(Premier League)
Saturday 20th April at 7:00pm, Derwent Park, Workington

This Saturday evening sees the Sheffield Tigers visit Derwent Park to open up the Comets home league season and of course it features a return to the track for former Comets favourite Simon Stead.

Steady, who has spent time in the Elite League at Belle Vue, Coventry and Swindon since leaving the Comets at the end of 2004 has always rated Derwent Park as his favourite circuit and he will be out to show that, despite a gap of several years, he still knows the fastest way around his former stomping ground. Having enjoyed a testimonial meeting and won an Elite League championship with Swindon last season, this year has seen Stead (9.58) drop into the Premier League and join Sheffield, the club he left to join the Comets in early 2003, while he will also be holding down a ‘doubling-up' position with Elite League King's Lynn.

Thursday evening saw the Tigers stage a remarkable comeback to pull back the Comets early lead before a last heat 5-1 saw the Tigers pip the Comets by a single point at the end of heat 15 to emerge as 47-46 winners. However, with both tracks being large and fast each set of riders are equally at home on the others track and another excellent meeting is in prospect for Saturday evening.

Stead is not the only ex-Comet in the Tigers side as double British under-21 champion Joe Haines (5.04) spent 2008, his debut year in the Premier League, with the Comets before moving on to Rye House. Meanwhile, Richard Hall (6.89) and the New Zealand-born USA star Ricky Wells (6.47) each made very productive guest appearances for the Comets at Derwent Park during 2012 and have shown that they know their way around the Comets home track on sufficient occasions to pose a threat.

The wide-riding Argentine newcomer Facundo Albin (5.00) will be making his debut at Derwent Park in this meeting, in what is his first British season. Having originally looked likely to join Berwick, Facundo ended up being snapped up by the Tigers once it became clear that the Bandits could not accommodate him within the team-building points limit.

At reserve the Tigers have handed berths to two relatively untried riders at this level; Australian Damien Koppe (5.00) and British youngster Jake Knight (3.00). Both are sons of former riders. Koppe's father (Steve) is a former National League Riders' Champion when with Canterbury while Knight's father (Richard) was a 1990 world finalist who spent the bulk of his top level career with King's Lynn.

For the Comets; Rusty Harrison is hoping to be fit to take his place in the line-up following a heavy fall in his third outing at Owlerton, as the Comets will be going all out to record a victory to make up for the disappointment of Thursday's narrow defeat at Sheffield. But, with Simon Stead involved it promises to be another great speedway meeting at Derwent Park.

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

SHEFFIELD ‘WINDOW CENTRE' TIGERS
1 Simon Stead (Capt.), 2 Facundo Albin, 3 Joe Haines, 4 Richard Hall, 5 Ricky Wells, 6 Jake Knight, 7 Damien Koppe.
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Last Updated :  Sat 20 Apr 2013, 10:47 UK
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Photography
Dave Payne, Adrian Randall