Ben Morley bounces back! Wightlink Warriors ready to stage season opener against Mildenhall Fen Tigers
The Isle of Wight Wightlink Warriors will be staging their first team fixture of the season at the Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde as they welcome the Mildenhall Fen Tigers for a National Trophy fixture on Thursday.
The Fen Tigers are the defending Trophy holders, however for all their dominance in 2018 they ended without the league title or the knock-out cup as injury wrecked the closing weeks of their season and allowed Eastbourne Eagles to swoop in and take the major silverware right at the death.
With a management restructure having taken place in the winter, the visitors have pledged to come back fighting for the principal honours again in 2019.
But they will have to do it with a much changed line-up – one that has already been dealt a body-blow following an injury to Sam Bebee during pre-season practice.
While they source a replacement, any side boasting Danny Ayres and Jason Edwards at the top of their riding order will prove a tough nut to crack and the home side will have to be fully prepared for what looks set to be an enthralling night of racing.
Wightlink Warriors come together as a team for the first time and hand debuts to their four winter signings Georgie Wood, Ryan Terry-Daley, Connor King and Chad Wirtzfeld.
Realistically, it may take those riders a meeting or two to become acclimatised to the sweeping Smallbrook circuit so it is crucial that last season’s returnees Ben Morley, Danno Verge and Chris Widman fully deliver in the Trophy opener.
Wightlink Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop said: ‘We have had two smashing individual meetings to start our season, but now the real work begins.
‘The Fen Tigers can never be underestimated and they have two top notch heat leaders who absolutely fly round this track. I’m pleased to report that Ben Morley suffered no ill effects from his last race fall in the Vince Mapley meeting so we will be at full strength and we really do want to set off on a winning note.
‘Warrior fans who have been so appreciative of the action in the first two meetings will need to be here in force. They can be the catalyst to achieving an opening night celebration.’
Warriors (from): Connor King, Ben Morley, Ryan Terry-Daley, Danno Verge, Chris Widman, Chad Wirtzfeld and Georgie Wood.
Fen Tigers (from): Danny Ayres, Sam Bebee (rider replacement), Charlie Brooks, Jason Edwards, Elliot Kelly, Macauley Leek, David Wallinger.
The usual pricing and admission arrangements apply with gates opening at 5.30pm ahead of the first race at 7pm.