This week's speedway action at Blunsdon sees the Swindon Robins entertain Rye House in the Premier League. This will actually be the 11th time the two sides have met in a series that dates back to 4 April 1993, when the Robins narrowly lost by two points (55-53) in a British League Division 2 encounter at the Rockets' Hertfordshire home. Overall, the series stands at 5-4 in Swindon's favour, with one match having been drawn.

Having won 45-44 in a gripping league match at Hoddesdon on 31 May, the Robins will obviously be going 'all-out' for all three available points to maintain their challenge for honours near the top of the table. In looking forward to the meeting Swindon promoter Peter Toogood expressed caution as he stated: 'We need to remember the night last year when the Rockets shocked us by forcing a draw here in the Knock-Out Cup, so we must never underestimate their ability around Blunsdon. Having said that, I am looking forward to another tremendous evening of racing, and hopefully we can consolidate our position at the right end of the league table.'

Sadly, the Blunsdon faithful will be denied the opportunity of seeing the recently turned 17-year-old 'wonder kid' Edward Kennett in action, as he is still recovering from a dislocated ankle suffered at Reading on 21 July. In his unfortunate absence at No.1, the Rockets will utilize the rider replacement facility. Meanwhile, filling the other two heat-leader berths in the Rye House side are Scott Robson and Brent Werner, with the former enjoying something of a solid-scoring year for his side.

The Rockets are captained by the quick-starting David 'Magic Man' Mason, and together with Australian Nigel Sadler, the duo occupy second-string positions in the team. Both are capable performers, particularly Sadler, who also notched a tally of paid 14 points in the KOC match at Blunsdon last season.

At reserve, Rye House are represented by 42-year-old veteran Mark Courtney and lanky Australian Brett Woodifield. The naturally talented Courtney successfully returned to the sport with Glasgow in 2000, after six years out of the saddle and could pose a threat at No.6. The same could most certainly be said of Woodifield, who has looked more than useful in previous Blunsdon appearances.

For the Robins, track specialist and top man at Trelawny Chris Harris deputizes for Olly Allen, and it looks almost certain that Ritchie Hawkins will return to the side following a tentative spin on the centre-green training track last Thursday. After seven weeks out of action following a crash in the home match against Exeter on 17 July, the youngster was clearly looking forward to again sporting a Robins race-jacket when he said: 'I hope that I might be OK to return for the match against Rye House, but it depends on whether I can get some practice elsewhere before the meeting. As long as I feel happy, then I'd like to give it a go.'



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