The Warriors return to action on Thursday (26 July) when they entertain the Buxton Hitmen in a National League fixture.
The whole of the Warriors management team are in agreement that this really is a ‘must win’ fixture and that view will be echoed on the terraces, however many will be mindful of the shock win delivered by the Hitmen in the equivalent meeting last year and, yet again, the Warriors are hampered by absences and it will be an unfamiliar septet that takes to the track.
For this meeting Warriors will be without the services of Ben Morley and Alfie Bowtell who are both needed to ride for their senior side - Lakeside are at Sheffield in the Championship – whilst Chris Widman is still recovering from his wrist operation and the problem reserve berth remains unfilled. It means that team manager Jackie Vatcher has had her work cut out putting together a competitive side within the current averages and regulations and has done well to bring in two guests in the shape of the flamboyant Danny Ayres (Mildenhall) and promising youngster Taylor Hampshire (Kent). Jamie Bursill will take the vacant reserve berth whilst the rider replacement facility will be used for Bowtell enabling any of the Warriors one additional ride.
Buxton arrive with some familiar names in their line-up with 2017 Island favourites Ben Wilson and Connor Coles expected to be in action. It had been hoped that a third member of last year’s team, James Cockle, would also be included but he is reported to have decided to retire from the sport leaving the ever reliable Tom Woolley to guide three inexperienced teenager through this meeting.
The importance of a win was not lost on Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop who said, “Last year’s meeting with Buxton was pivotal in sending the wooden spoon to our stadium and it really hurt. This year it cannot be the same, it’s a must win and the boys need to show the type of form we have been seeing lately. We must not allow ourselves to fall behind at any stage of the meeting. It won’t be easy without Ben, Alfie and Chris but we think we have set our team up in such a way as to ensure the Warriors emerge victorious”.
Warriors: Danny Ayres, Danno Verge, Scott Campos, Taylor Hampshire, Rider Replacement for Alfie Bowtell, Jamie Bursill, Shaun Tedham.
Hitmen: Ben Wilson, Lewis Whitmore, Connor Coles, Tom Woolley, Rider Replacement for James Cockle, Kieran Douglas, Corban Pavitt.
With a super weather forecast and the school holidays getting under way, a full night of family fun and excitement is on the cards so patrons are advised to arrive early to enjoy the pre-match activities. Gates open at 5.30 pm ahead of open pit access at 5.45 pm, the parade of riders at 6.45 pm and tapes up at 7.00 pm.