WEEKEND PREVIEW: Elite League round 10 brings the 2014 series to a close

As the 2014 season starts drawing to a close, there is some unfinished business to settle in the Elite League, as the final week of action concludes with round 10 and the race for the remaining top 3 places. Wednesfield, Ipswich and Sheffield can all snatch second place and Poole can take third if results go their way…

Elite League – Round 10

Wednesfield v Sheffield
We kick off this week’s preview at Ashmore Park, where it is likely that one of these teams will claim the second spot (only a draw and an Ipswich win at Horspath can provide a different outcome). Wednesfield lost convincingly at the Graves back in round 5, as Sheffield’s momentum started to build and the Aces’ form was in decline, after losing Paul Heard to a broken hand. Both sides will need a full team out to take second place. Stars’ absentees from their defeat against Poole last week, Myke Grimes and Mikey Hewitson, are expected to return to the Yorkshire side’s line up. The Aces will want to welcome back Ben Mould, after he missed last week’s draw against Ipswich. Wednesfield also have Marcus Wadhams, Dominik Rycharski and Konrad Pietek at their disposal, if they are available. What is certain, is that this will be a hard fought match between two sides who have experienced a few ups and downs this year, but will want to finish on a high and claim the runners up spot.

Horspath v Ipswich
Ipswich’s slim hopes of a second place finish will be made all the more difficult due to facing the unbeaten Elite League champions Horspath, at the Village. Horspath’s home record over the years is mightily impressive, any side in the world would struggle to take points away from Oxfordshire, Ipswich’s young side need to do that, or rely on Wednesfield beating Sheffield and Newport beating Poole to finish in the top 3. The hammers won’t be up for any charity giving though, they want their 10 match unbeaten run completed, and deservedly so. They have ran away with the title this year and been way more consistent than any of their rivals. Ipswich can call this season a big success, having only notched a couple of wins against a weak Birmingham team last year, they’ve made some real steps forward, including leading the way at the start of the year.

Newport v Poole
Poole looked like potential wooden spoon contenders after not scoring points until round 5. Their first win came against Newport at the Harbourside and they’ve notched an impressive 4 wins from their last 5 matches, only losing to Horspath, who wrapped up the title in Dorset last month. Home side, Newport, have had some heavy defeats of late. Round 6 aside, where they ran Ipswich close at the Olympic Village, they haven’t met the form of earlier in the season and have been comprehensively beaten in the last few rounds. The Poole challenge gives them a chance to go out on a high though, as the Dorset club won’t have things their own way in South Wales. Newport can be proud of what they’ve achieved this year. Although they have finished at the foot of the table, their win against Sheffield was fully deserved and with a couple of squad additions, could be fighting string next year.

Other meetings this weekend sees the final Eurovets round take place at Ipswich this afternoon (Saturday), along with the previously previewed Yorkshire Riders Championship at Heckmondwike. It’s the final round of the extended South and South Wales British Youth and Junior League in Southampton and the Suffolk Junior League takes place at Kesgrave, both also take place today.

Tomorrow, Leicester travel to Coventry as previewed and Stockport host Glasgow in a Northern League division 2 fixture.

Only a few more weekends of racing left, enjoy it while it lasts!