Blogs & Opinion


The perfect blend

Rebels should be too strong for Sheffield in the Premier League

Kelvin Tatum Posted 30th May 2011 view comments

Somerset had an underwhelming season in 2010 when they finished 11th in the Premier League. Fast forward to now, though, and they are sitting pretty in second place.

They did some positive team-building at the start of the year and looking at their line-up of riders, it's not surprising that they are so high in the table. They have a really attractive team.

The Rebels' German star, Christian Hefenbrock, has plenty of Elite League experience and is showing his class in the division below.

McGowan: Australian's experience has been vital for Somerset Rebels

McGowan: Australian's experience has been vital for Somerset Rebels

Travis McGowan also rode in the Elite League for a long time. He has had his fair share of injury problems but is a reliable old hand and, along with Hefenbrock, provides a very solid backbone.

When riders drop down from the top division to the Premier League, you can often see their class. They manage to nick races that perhaps more unproven competitors won't. Hefenbrock and McGowan's adaptability and nous have been invaluable for Somerset so far this season.

Travis McGowan rode in the Elite League for a long time. He has had his fair share of injury problems but is a reliable old hand and, along with Hefenbrock, provides a very solid backbone.

Kelvin Tatum
Quotes of the week

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
Premier League Speedway
Somerset v Sheffield
7.30pm, Tue, Sky Sports HD1
Watch online with Sky Player
Click here to remote record

In addition, the Rebels have a clutch of exciting young Australian riders, like Sam Masters and Cory Gathercole, who have huge potential.

It's the same story as with most other sports; their success is based on a great blend of youth and experience.

Fast flowing

It's a super track at Oak Tree Arena and one that is very fast flowing. Whenever I've been there I've witnessed some superb speedway.

Visitors Sheffield won't be too inconvenienced by it, though, because their track is probably the fastest in the Premier League. However, they have not had a great season thus far.

The Tigers were excellent in 2010, getting all the way to the play-off final before they were toppled by the Newcastle Diamonds, but they are only in sixth place this time around.

There may be a bit of a hangover from the fact they went so close in the last campaign and ultimately failed, but mainly I think their riders have not been in good enough form.

Sometimes you get a few injuries and have a slow start to the season but, on paper, they don't look to bad. Josh Auty looks quite useful, Ricky Ashworth has been around for some time and, of course, their main signing of the winter was Shane Parker, who rode for Somerset last year. With those three, I think Sheffield will do alright this season.

All these Premier League riders will be looking to perform because places in Elite League sides are always for up grabs. It's not so common now, but Elite League teams do look to prise the most talented riders away.

Darcy Ward at Poole was signed from King's Lynn a few seasons ago, while Wolverhampton's Tai Woffinden was also plucked from the Premier League.

And last year's Cardiff Grand Prix winner, Chris Holder, was snapped up from Isle of Wight by Poole. I suspect that quite often there is a squabble between Elite League teams over the best of the Premier division riders.

KELVIN'S CALL

Somerset, along with Workington and Ipswich, are a stand-out team in this league; their second-placed position is not a false one. I think they will have too much for Sheffield on Tuesday night.

The fact that Shane Parker is riding against Somerset having previously ridden for them gives it an added spice and he should go well - but I'll go for a narrow Rebels victory.

back to top

Other Speedway Experts:

Latest Posts in Speedway:

Kelvin Tatum

Back on track

Lakeside can make it two wins over Belle Vue Aces in four days, says Kelvin Tatum, but it'll be close!...

comments

Kelvin Tatum

Hit the road

Swindon are struggling this season but will fancy their chances at Birmingham, says Kelvin Tatum....

comments

Kelvin Tatum

Racing away

Belle Vue are unbeaten at home but Kelvin Tatum asks if they can transfer that form at Swindon....

comments

Latest News RSS feeds

Korneliussen leaves Leicester

Leicester have parted company with skipper Mads Korneliussen on the eve of their final Elite League tie of the season.

Pirates sting Bees to go top

Poole Pirates raced to the top of the Elite League table with a comprehensive 50-40 win over Coventry Bees on Monday.

Jonsson takes Vojens spoils

Andreas Jonsson ended a three-year Grand Prix victory drought by winning the Nordic SGP in Vojens, Denmark.

King Lynn back on top

King’s Lynn returned to the top of the Elite League with a convincing 51-39 win at Leicester.

Speedway HQ given go-ahead

Manchester City Council has unanimously granted planning permission for the Belle Vue Sports Village.

Features

The Sky Sports Open Day on August 16th

The Sky Sports Open Day on August 16th

Sky Sports are giving non-Sky Sports customers a day of world-class sport at no extra cost.

Sky Sports News HQ: Breaking news... but not as you know it, says Mike Wedderburn

Sky Sports News HQ: Breaking news... but not as you know it, says Mike Wedderburn

Now we are starting the countdown to Sky Sports News' relaunching as Sky Sports News HQ.