Twenty-four hours after performing in front of the television cameras at Swindon, the Kent Sweepers Hammers return to their Purfleet base aiming to repel a raid from the Borders region as the Berwick Blackshaws Bandits visit in another vital Premier League match.

As of today, the Bandits are currently occupying third place in the Premier League table, having picked up a win and two draws on their travels thus far, and confirming suspicions that it could be a hard match on Friday.

Peter Waite, Berwick's promoter, virtually saved the club from seeming extinction four years ago. The outfit was in turmoil but Waite, a local businessman and a former rider himself, had other ideas. Through his, and others', determination, the foundations were laid for a long-term future.

It's a very different looking 2002 Berwick side to that of last year, however, as out have gone Scott Robson - now at Rye House - David Meldrum (Edinburgh) and Scott Lamb, who recently had a spell in the Conference League with Mildenhall. There were no places either for Wayne Carter (now Newcastle) or Josef Franc.

Paul Bentley has returned to Shielfield Park after spending last year at Hull, while Claus Kristensen was recalled after his loan spell at Swindon, and fresh faces drafted into the squad during the close season include Australian Kevin Doolan, who is resuming his British career that began at Belle Vue two years ago. German Stefan Mell, who had a brief spell at Trelawny in 2001, and Simon Cartwright, who rode for Glasgow, join the Aussie. Just two riders are retained from last year's team - Czech nationals Michael Makovsky and Adrian Rymel.

The Hammers expect Kristensen and Bentley to be the main danger men in the Bandits' side on Friday, but Makovsky, Rymel and Doolan are all more than capable of getting amongst the points, as are the two reserves. Doolan could well prove to be the key man in the match - he talent in abundance, although it is not always fully utilised.

Pre-season, that august body of speedway scribes who contribute each week to the Speedway Star plumped for an eleventh place finish in the league for the Bandits, but Peter Waite's side is currently making real mincemeat of that prediction. All the signs are that the Bandits will be there or thereabouts when the league title is decided.

Provisional teams for Friday are as follows:

Kent Sweepers Hammers: 1. Kelvin Tatum, 2. Andy Galvin, 3. Colin White, 4. Shaun Tacey (capt), 5. Leigh Lanham, 6. Scott Courtney, 7. Lee Herne.

Berwick Blackshaws Bandits: 1. Adrian Rymel, 2. Kevin Doolan, 3. Paul Bentley, 4. Michal Makovsky, 5. Claus Kristensen, 6. Simon Cartwright, 7. Stefan Mell.