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Comets versus Newcastle TONIGHT at Derwent Park
Photo by Dave Payne
Sat 04 Apr 2015 by Comets Press Office
The Comets aim to finally get their home season up and running today when they entertain their closest rivals the Newcastle Diamonds in the first leg of the Ian Thomas Shield at Derwent Park at 7:00pm this evening.
Following last Saturday's postponed home opener against the Redcar Bears in the A66 Trophy challenge fixture it means a later than expected start to the 2015 campaign at Derwent Park; but all the riders are raring to go following the Comets excellent 56-36 success away at Redcar nine days ago in what was their first track action as a team this year.

However, despite a lack of team action the majority of the side have ridden in several open meetings and had guest bookings in advance of today.

In fact five Comets were due to be in action in yesterday's comprehensive racing programme, but the typical British weather soon put paid to that.

Ricky Wells was scheduled to race for Wolverhampton at Belle Vue but the rain in Manchester prevented that from going ahead, as did the rain in Poole and Swindon, which caused the postponement of both the Poole v Swindon and Swindon v Poole fixtures; with Kyle Howarth due to race in both and Nathan Greaves set to guest for Poole at Swindon in the evening meeting.

But, two Comets did get to take to the track: Rusty Harrison rode as a guest for Plymouth at Somerset, scoring 6+2 from his four outings, including a win in his second ride in the Devils 59-31 League Cup defeat at the hands of the Rebels.

Meanwhile Kenneth Hansen rode as a guest in the number one race-jacket for Glasgow at Edinburgh and scored 9+1 from five outings, also winning his second outing, in the Tigers Spring Trophy defeat by the Monarchs. Nevertheless, it will have given Kenneth some good practice around Armadale ahead of the Comets visit there next Friday (10th April) in their opening League Cup group fixture.

The Comets go into tonight's meeting at full strength, as do the Diamonds, who have Lewis Kerr back on track after his heavy fall in the televised meeting against Lakeside at King's Lynn earlier in the week.

Since the Ian Thomas Shield was introduced in 2013 both clubs have recorded one aggregate victory – the Diamonds winning the inaugural contest and the Comets last season, so each will be looking to move ahead in the running total this time around.

Both legs will be run as per the 2015 aggregate-tie regulations laid down in the 2015 Rule Book, which means that there will be NO Tactical Ride's permitted this evening, or in tomorrow's eagerly-anticipated second leg at Brough Park, which gets underway at 6:30pm.

The teams line up this evening as follows:
Workington ‘Thomas Armstrong' Comets: 1 Kenneth Hansen (7.70), 2 Ricky Wells (6.49), 3 Rene Bach (C) (7.64), 4 Rusty Harrison (6.50), 5 Kyle Howarth (6.57), 6 Nicki Barrett (3.93), 7 Nathan Greaves (3.00).

Newcastle (Sapphire Engineering' Diamonds: 1 Steve Worrall (7.46), 2 Christian Henry (6.06), 3 Lewis Kerr (7.35), 4 Anton Rosen (6.69), 5 Ludvig Lindgren (C) (7.12), 6 Simon Nielsen (3.36), 7 Lewis Rose (4.05).

Tonight's SCB Referee is Darren Hartley.
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Last Updated :  Sat 04 Apr 2015, 09:15 UK - official club website.
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Dave Payne, Adrian Randall