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Meeting Preview: Comets v Newcastle (PL)
Photo by Dave Payne
Thu 22 Aug 2013 by Comets Press Office
WORKINGTON COMETS v NEWCASTLE DIAMONDS (Premier League)
Saturday 24th August at 7:00pm, Derwent Park, Workington

This Saturday evening sees a very solid Newcastle side visit Derwent Park for the third time this season – but for certainly the most important of their three visits this season, with vital Premier League points at stake in what is likely to be our toughest home match so far.

Their first visit this season came on opening night when the Comets emerged as 51-42 winners in the first leg of the inaugural Ian Thomas Shield. Then, the second time the Diamonds came over to Cumbria saw the Comets come out on top but only just, as we ran out 47-43 winners in our League Cup group clash, and all the signs are that this third visit could be just as close, if not even closer!

The good news for Comets fans is that Ashley Morris returns to the Comets side for this match following his wrist injury, which caused him to miss our last three fixtures (away at fellow title-chasers Somerset and Ipswich, with the visit of Scunthorpe to Derwent park sandwiched in between them).

However, with Tero Aarnio missing the meeting due to Saturday's Finnish Championship Final at Hyvinkaa, the Comets have rider replacement in operation for him which, because of his position in the team averages, means that his rides can be covered by Kyle Howarth and the two reserves, Ashley and Chris.

Newcastle's team shows three changes from their early season visits; with Andrew Tully (6.93) now recovered from the back injury that he collected at Newcastle's Press Day and 22-year-old Swede Anton Rosen (7.00) set to make his British and Newcastle debut at Derwent Park on Saturday night.

Rosen rides with double world champion Greg Hancock for the Piraterna side that has just finished top of the Swedish Elite League table and he has taken some notable scalps in Sweden, so all the signs are that the Diamonds could have a winner on their hands with him.

The option to introduce Rosen (who lines up on an assessed 7.00 average) into the Diamonds septet comes following the news that Australian rider Christian Henry is now set to miss the remainder of the campaign with the back injury he picked up in mid-July.

Topping the Diamonds averages at present is Richie Worrall (8.39), who is not only having a great season for the Diamonds but also for King's Lynn, who he doubles-up for in the Elite League, while he has ample support from the remaining four riders in the side who are all averaging around the seven-point mark.

Mathematically it is Swede Ludvig Lindgren (7.13) who is second to Worrall in the Newcastle averages, having added about a quarter of a point to his 2013 starting figure and he has been in terrific form recently in addition to bagging lots of points for his parent club Wolverhampton in the Elite League when fulfilling his doubling-up role.

Meanwhile skipper Stuart Robson (7.10) is showing good form after a month or so in the doldrums where he experienced a dip in form and a few mechanical niggles. However, the experienced and stylish ‘Robbo' now appears to be back to his best and he, like Richie Worrall and Ludvig Lindgren, has also been scoring well when doubling-up with Elite League Coventry and, with his good record around Derwent Park, he is another rider to watch out for.

At reserve the Diamonds have Lewis Kerr (5.54), who is arguably one of the most improved riders in the Premier League in 2013 and is undoubtedly one of the key reasons for Newcastle's success as he has made a mockery of his 3.00 starting average in what is his first season in the Premier League. Lewis made a big contribution to the Comets total back in May when he rode as a guest at reserve in our home league clash with Glasgow.

Completing the Diamonds side is popular ex-Comet Chris Schramm (3.37), who is another rider to have made a more than useful contribution to the Comets cause when guesting for us at Derwent Park earlier this season. Essex-based Chris, who is a good friend of our own Chris Mills, started the season at Plymouth but when he was released by the Devils he was soon snapped up by Newcastle to replace their out of form reserve Steve Worrall (twin brother of Richie), which certainly stiffened up the Diamonds tail.

This Premier League fixture will be followed by the Workington Meteors final Northern Junior League home fixture of the season, when they take on a junior side from Newcastle over the standard four-heat format used by that league.

Additionally, the annual ‘Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund Collection' – which every track must carry out once per season, will also be held during an interval in the main meeting.

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

NEWCASTLE ‘SAPPHIRE ENGINEERING' DIAMONDS
1 Richie Worrall, 2 Anton Rosen, 3 Andrew Tully, 4 Ludvig Lindgren, 5 Stuart Robson (captain), 6 Chris Schramm, 7 Lewis Kerr.
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Last Updated :  Thu 22 Aug 2013, 20:05 UK
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Photography
Dave Payne, Adrian Randall