Rockets looking to go one better in the KO Cup – and this weekend it’s Glasgow who stand in their way of progress

Cup finalists last season, the Silver Ski Rockets aim to take the first step toward making a similar impact on this year’s competition when they face Glasgow home and away in a first round tie this weekend.

The first leg is in Hoddesdon on Saturday night (7pm start), with the tie due to be settled north of the border at Ashfield the following evening.

The Rockets will be missing Mathieu Tresarrieu for both legs, as the Frenchman is riding in the European Grasstrack Championship at Mulmshorn in Germany. Unfortunately, although this is an FIM-subscribed event, there is no guest facility available for a Grasstrack event in the same way that one exists for Speedway or Longtrack, which means that the Rockets will only be able to use a National League grade rider as cover. Ben Morley will fill the spot on Saturday, with Ben Hopwood deputising in the return leg in Scotland.

The Tigers will also be short-handed, given they will be missing ex-Rocket Kasper Lykke for the first leg in Hertfordshire because the young Dane is riding in an U-21 round in Elgane in Norway that day. Additionally, Dimitri Bergé remains sidelined with the injuries he suffered in a crash at Asfield at the end of April, leading the Tigers to name Andre Compton – who impressed with 7 points when visiting with regular club Sheffield a month ago - and James Sarjeant as their two guests at reserve.

Rye House team manager John Sampford is under no illusions as to the task that lies ahead this weekend. “Mathieu’s absence leaves a very big hole, and we need everybody to be at the top of their game to help fill that gap in order to build a decent score to defend up in Scotland on Sunday.

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“It will be good to have Jason Garrity back after his absence in the U-21 World Cup last week, and we’ll be looking for him to continue both his recent form for us and the points scoring ability he showed for the Young Lions in Germany. We’ll also have Stefan Nielsen back from his injury and Fast-Track commitments.”

Sampford will not be drawn on a specific first leg objective. “Setting a points target can often be as counter-productive as it can be positive. No, it’s just a case of going out there, racing and scoring as many points as possible to take to Ashfield.”

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Rye House: Luke Bowen, Steve Boxall, Jason Bunyan (captain), Jason Garrity, Edward Kennett, Ben Morley (guest), Stefan Nielsen

Glasgow: Andre Compton (guest), Rusty Harrison, Christian Henry, Theo Pijper (captain), James Sarjeant (guest), Anders Thomsen, Kevin Wölbert

There is more Cup action after Heat 15 on Saturday, with the night’s main programme followed by six heats in the Midland Development League Knock-Out Cup as the Rye House Raiders face Milton Keynes. The Raiders lead the tie 21-15 from the first leg.

Meanwhile The Silver Ski Rockets’ scheduled Premier League match away to Redcar next Thursday (June 19th) has been postponed due to a clash with England’s World Cup football fixture against Uruguay the same night. A new date for this meeting will be announced in due course once agreed.

Please note that the Rockets will still be on the road the next night, however, as they travel up to Edinburgh.

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