Ben Barker comes rocketing into Rye on Saturday as home and away clashes with the Plymouth Devils take place starting on Friday. Devils have had a difficult start to the season

Ben Barker

Ben Barker - Credit: Archant

The Silver Ski Rockets will be out to continue their excellent start to the season when they meet Plymouth home and away in the League Cup this weekend.

The Rockets visit Devon on Friday night, with the Devils returning the favour in Hoddesdon the following evening (Saturday, April 5th @7pm).

Rye have already won at hotshots Peterborough in the competition – and more recently bested the Panthers 56-37 in the East of England Cup with Edward Kennett producing an impeccable five ride maximum - and will be aiming for more of the same against the South-Westerners in order to cement their position in a tough round-robin group that also encompasses Ipswich and Somerset.

Their opponents, in contrast, have faced a difficult start to the campaign, trailing 33-18 at Peterborough when light stopped play and losing 57-36 at home to Somerset in a challenge fixture. Rye House team manager John Sampford is hesitant, however, to read to read too much into those early scores. “The Panthers are going to be major players in this year’s Premier League, and Somerset have another ultra-competitive team too, so neither of those scores was a total surprise. I am sure that the Devils will be a different proposition once they have bedded in and settled themselves down.”

The Rockets’ opponents have, in fact, totally re-built their roster from 2013’s side, with exciting prospect Rasmus Jensen effectively their only survivor from last year. World Cup international Ben Barker has returned to the club after a year’s absence, while the Devils’ squad also includes 2012 World U-21 Semi-Finalist Kyle Newman and 2004 Czech U-21 Champion Sam Simota, who was spotted practicing at yesterday’s Training School at Rye having paid the standard fee to participate! Elsewhere, Kalle Katajisto will hopefully be fit after suffering concussion in a track crash on Saturday.

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Sampford continues, “We certainly know what Ben Barker is all about – he has topped or been second in the national averages in two of the last three seasons – and I am looking forward to seeing Rasmus Jensen for the first time after hearing very good reviews. And Kalle Katajisto has enjoyed some tremendous meetings at Rye in the past when he was with Edinburgh.

“So we are not going to under-estimate them at all. We remember that they came to us twice and beat us last year, and I am fully expecting a real scrap in both this weekend’s fixtures.

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Rye House team: Luke Bowen, Steve Boxall, Jason Bunyan R/R, Jason Garrity, Edward Kennett, Simon Lambert, Mathieu Tresarrieu

Plymouth team: Ben Barker, Roland Benko, Rasmus Jensen, Kalle Katajisto, Kyle Newman, Ben Reade, Sam Simota

Saturday’s main 15 races at Rye House will be followed by six more in the Midland Development League, as the Raiders face Milton Keynes in their opening MDL fixture. The Raiders’ team is Daniel Blake, Rob Watts, Luke Harris and Danny Ayres.

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