Wightlink Islanders change their race night this week to tackle Dudley Heathens on Thursday with a 7.30pm start at Smallbrook. The original fixture was washed out in early July and now becomes the last but one National league fixture at Smallbrook this season.
The Heathens started the season out in fine form with good results home and away but of late they have somewhat struggled due to injuries to key riders which has hampered their progress. Nevertheless Thursday should be a close hard fought battle with Islanders promoters keen to take 3 league points away from the midland club.
With Danny Warwick surging back to form after his late start to the season, the ever dependable Nick Simmons and Rob Smith scoring well recently Chris Hunt and Kevin Shepherd are looking for solid return from the rest of the side who should be bolstered with the return of Paul Starke from injury. One change to the Islanders line up will see David Gough recently released by Newport take over the number 6 race jacket due to the unavailability of Rikki Mullins.
Wightlink Islanders face a big task to overcome Mildenhall Fen Tigers in the second leg of the National league KO Cup Semi-final following Sundays 20 point deficit at West Row. The Islanders are in a must win situation to extend their season, failure to overcome the 20 point deficit will bring an end to their 2011 home season on the Island on Tuesday 13th September.
On Sunday afternoon at West Row the Islanders were left using rider replacement for Rob Smith who had a prior engagement booked before the fixture was agreed coupled with a late withdrawal by Paul Starke who is recovering from recent injury. Niall Strudwick was drafted in as a late replacement, but the Islanders although with Danny Warwick back on top form with 12 points and skipper Nick Simmons with 11+2 lacked the solid support apart from Gary Cottham 6+1.
Co-promoter Chris Hunt said, “I think we could of been within a few points of Mildenhall if we had a full team on Sunday, Nick and Danny were superb.”
Co-promoter Kevin Shepherd added, “The team that we were able to put out did themselves and the club proud, they didn’t disgrace us and sets us up for the second leg which we are full of optimism for and see no reason why we can’t win by 21 points.”
The club will be holding a Christmas Dinner in the Premier Lounge on Saturday 3rd December, there are limited tickets available priced at £25.00 per ticket which can be purchased from Ness behind the bar. Deposits or full payment secure tickets for the 5-course meal which starts at 7.00pm.