WEEKEND PREVIEW: Elite, U13 Club, Women’s League and Eurovets all this weekend!

It’s Elite League weekend again and come 4pm on Sunday we should have a better idea of how the league is starting to pan out. The Women’s League is also back, this time in Exeter, as is the Eurovets at Poole. First, on Saturday Wednesfield Aces host the U13 Club Championship at Ashmore Park.

The Under 13s Club Championship starts with the semi finals at 12pm. The top two from each make the final, which takes place at 2:30pm, following the minor final for the third and fourth placed teams in the semis at 1:30pm. The draw for the first semi-final is:

1 Coventry CSC
2 Poole CSC
3 Ipswich Eagles CSC
4 Kesgrave Panthers CSC

The second semi-final draw is:

5 Horspath CSC
6 Wednesfield Aces CSC
7 Sheffield Stars CSC
8 Exeter Aces CSC

The title could go to any of the 8 clubs, in what will no doubt be a great day of Junior racing.

Horspath v Poole kicks off the Elite League preview this week. The Harbourside club have struggled so far this season, losing their flown-in Polish contingent as well as the retirement of British Champion Thomas Reed. However, Poole are a club that are building for the future and giving some of the younger riders valuable Elite League experience will no doubt pay dividends one day, especially when you consider the current form of the Ipswich Eagles, who have invested heavily in their home grown riders over the years. That said, Poole do have Gavin Wheeler and Greg Gluchowski to lead the way, with names like that in the side it won’t be easy for anyone. The Dorset side face another tough battle at the Village, where they take on the unbeaten Horspath Hammers. The Hammers took a World class side to the Graves in their first match of the season, but proved their strength without members of the World Cup winning Polish team who flew in against Sheffield, by beating title favourites Wednesfield at home last time out. Mark Boaler’s men will be looking to make it three on the bounce against the youthful Poole side in Oxfordshire.

Joint league leaders Ipswich welcome a Sheffield side to Suffolk that are surprisingly yet to get off the mark. Having lost the meeting in a last heat decider against Horspath in the first match of the season, the Stars would have hoped to have bounced back against newcomers Newport last time out. However, they met a resilient Newport side and the Stars paid the price for not travelling well. They have got a very strong squad that could match any side, but they will need to field a strong team from 1-8 to get the better of the Eagles at home, or they could be looking at another defeat and paying the price again for not fulfilling their squad’s potential. The Eagles have got off to a great start, already matching their points score for the season last year. The young team will be full of belief that they can overcome Sheffield and make it three wins on the trot, something perhaps not many would have predicted at the start of the season.

The final Elite League match is at Ashmore Park, where Wednesfield welcome Newport to the West Midlands. The Aces were massively disappointed to lose against Horspath at the end of April, a victory there would have put them in the driving seat for the rest of the season. They will be going all out to prove the Horspath defeat was just a blip against Newport. “The Port” are enjoying a great debut campaign, having already got their first win. They go into this match with nothing to lose and will be using their many riders with Elite League experience to scupper the Aces’ challenge. Mark Carmichael is on fine form after winning the Ade Gale Laurels at the weekend and he will be looking to lead the Welsh side in their biggest challenge to date, against the abundant strength of the Aces.

The Women’s League also returns at Exeter on Sunday. Great Blakenham hosted the first round with great success. We aren’t aware of the draw currently but once it comes in we will publish it.

It’s Poole’s turn to host the Eurovets round 3. There have been great turn outs for the TLI hosted veterans series at Horspath and Coventry so far in the series. It was an all Birmingham affair at Hearsall Common with Mark Winwood, Paul Timms and Bob Prince taking the wins in 40s, 50s and 60s respectively. The Birmingham riders will be looking to stamp their authority on the south coast and maintain their solid form.

The final fixture of the day sees Glasgow host Northumbria for some Northern League Division 2 and 3 action.