Rye House Rockets name six as Edward Kennett lead the side

Rye House Silver Ski Rockets have wasted little time in confirming six of their starting seven for 2014

Rye House Silver Ski Rockets have wasted little time in confirming six of their starting seven for 2014 - and the seventh subject to final ratification – with the most exciting news being that Edward Kennett has been named as the team’s new No.1.

It will be a clear case of “coming home” for the 27 year old whose competitive career began at Hoddesdon and who last represented the Rockets as part of their 2005 League and Premier Trophy winning side. Kennett also captured the first of two British U-21 championships that year, and has since gone on to represent his country in numerous World Cups, twice finish second in the British senior Final and appear as a Wildcard in the British Grand Prix.

Kennett’s signing followed probably the shortest negotiation period in the Rockets’ modern day history, with promoter Len Silver feeling that “This is a marriage made in heaven and I know our fans will be totally over the moon about Eddie’s move. My only regret....and it is a serious one...is that it determines that we are unable to track Anders Mellgren, a rider for whom I have the highest regard and affection. In thanking him for his excellent performances for the Rockets, I will make it my task to try to find a placement for him as quickly as possible. Of course in future seasons, if I can fit him into our team, I will have no hesitation in doing so.”

While Kennett has been away from Hoddesdon for eight seasons, there is a more familiar look to the rest of the named side. 8-time New Zealand national champion and double Grand Prix Wildcard Jason Bunyan returns to Hertfordshire for a third straight year as captain, and with an investment in two new engines, while thrill-merchants Tyson Nelson and Jason Garrity are also back from 2013. Aussie Nelson snared the “Mr Rocket” rider of the year award in October while fellow 20 year old Garrity shoe-horned a lot into a season that was abruptly halted by a broken leg: an all-inclusive 8.55 average from ten matches, a British U-21 bronze medal and a head-turning seventh place finish in the nationally televised British senior Final.

Kent-based Steve Boxall, meanwhile, will return to Hoddesdon after a two season absence having totally re-built his personal momentum in a fantastic 2013 as a Kent King. A near 10 point National League average and a second League Riders’ crown were just reward for his renewed commitment to the sport.

Although last seen in the Rockets’ colours in 2011, the “Boxmeister’s” Hertfordshire roots go back much further than that of course. Rye House is where it all first began for the 26 year old, with 2005 netting a first NLRC crown and advancement to the World U-21 Semi-Finals, 2006 the Rockets’ rider of the year award and 2007 a central role in Rye’s 2007 Premier League Championship machine. Several “wilderness years” may have followed, but Boxall is determined to show that his remarkable 2013 has laid the foundation for something even stronger next year.

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2014 Testimonial man Luke Bowen will fill one of the team’s reserve berths, having effectively sat out last season recovering from a broken thigh, with the other slot set to be taken by 2012 and 2013 Rocket Simon Lambert, dependent on final agreement with his parent club. Lambert would come in on what looks a highly understated 3.00 average.

Rye House team manager John Sampford is already looking forward to the new campaign as he oversees a team containing no less than six Brits. He shares Silver’s excitement over the return of Kennett. “Like Len, I’m really pleased to have an out and out No.1 in Edward, whose role will be so vital in Heats 13 and 15. Obviously, I’m also sorry that the points limit meant that we could not accommodate Anders Mellgren as well. He has been a real stalwart of the side over the last two seasons.

“Tyson and Jason (Garrity) will no doubt have everyone’s hearts in their mouths on occasions with their exciting riding styles, but both are incredible prospects, and in Jason’s case his official average of 5.32 looks a real steal.

“Jason (Bunyan) is sure to be a real rock in the heart of the side, and as captain brings much more to the team than just the points he scores, while Steve has been re-born and revitalised at Kent and is so keen to show that there is a lot, lot more left where 2013 came from.

“Luke simply lives and breathes blue and yellow, and it is so good to see him back from injury. Like Jason, he brings a lot more to the side than just his points, and he richly deserves his Testimonial. And hopefully Simon’s will be back too. Even when he was injured this past season, he turned up regularly to help out the rest of the boys in the pits, which tells you plenty about his character and attitude to this club.

“It will be a new season, and a new challenge. And we’ll be ready for it.”

Full Rye House team with official averages:

Edward Kennett (10.65), Tyson Nelson (6.16), Jason Bunyan (5.80), Steve Boxall (5.69), Jason Garrity (5.32), Luke Bowen (5.12), final place (3.00)

Team Total: 41.74

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