Tough couple of days ahead for the Rockets. First up it’s the Rebels, then the Premier League seasons starts up as Pontus returns to Hoddesdon - for one night only

Olly Allen, rides against Rye House on Friday

Olly Allen, rides against Rye House on Friday - Credit: Archant

The Silver Ski Rockets are gearing up to two matches in as many days as they round out their racing calendar in April.

The first stop is the Oak Tree Arena on Friday night for a return League Cup match with Somerset. The Rebels have already won in Hertfordshire, and retain very slim hopes of nabbing the top spot in the southern group. They need to claim maximum points both against the Rockets and next week’s home fixture against Ipswich, with Peterborough also coming away empty-handed from their two remaining meetings – at Rye and Plymouth – to potentially sneak through on race points.

The Rockets will be at full team strength, while the Rebels will field Josh Grajczonek as a guest for No.1 Nick Morris, who is committed to Elite League side Swindon the same night.

Rye House team manager John Sampford admits, “We’re under no illusions it will be a hard job to get the win, but if the riders all perform to their true potential, there is no reason we can’t take something away from the match.”

Rye House: Luke Bowen, Steve Boxall, Jason Bunyan (captain), Jason Garrity, Edward Kennett, Simon Lambert, Mathieu Tresarrieu

Somerset: Ollie Allen (captain), Pontus Aspgren, Josh Grajczonek (guest), Brady Kurtz, Todd Kurtz, Paul Starke, Charles Wright

The Rockets return home the following evening (Saturday, April 26th) for the start of the main Premier League programme.

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The opposition will come from 2012 Champions Scunthorpe, who are very much on the rebound from a difficult start that has brought a serious back injury for former Rocket Anders Mellgren – although the Swede may amazingly be back in the saddle as early as the end of May – and consecutive home defeats against Sheffield and Redcar.

The Scorpions have persevered, achieving a stunning 12 point victory in their return match at Sheffield and also seeing off defending titlists Somerset and League Cup holders Newcastle in Lincolnshire.

They have named ex-Rye star Pontus Aspgren as their guest at No.1 on Saturday, meaning that the Swede will face his former club twice within the space of 24 hours. Their side also includes 2013 Cardiff reserve Josh Auty, former GP Wildcard David Howe, plus Thomas Jorgensen and 2012 NLRC winner Ashley Birks.

Sampford concedes that “The Scorpions are a good side - they’ve already won away at Sheffield to prove it – and Pontus Aspgren is an excellent choice of guest. He was paid for 14 when Somerset visited us recently.

“The riders are fired up again, and determined to build momentum, after Sunday’s victory over Ipswich. They all know, though, that you are only as good as your last race, and your last match, and that they’ve got to prove it all again this weekend.”

Rye House: Luke Bowen, Steve Boxall, Jason Bunyan (captain), Jason Garrity, Edward Kennett, Simon Lambert, Mathieu Tresarrieu

Scunthorpe: Pontus Aspgren (guest), Josh Auty, Ashley Birks, Ryan Douglas, David Howe, Thomas Jorgensen, Matt Williamson

Saturday’s Premier League match against Scunthorpe will be followed by the 6 heat Midland Development League match between the Raiders and Stoke that was originally planned for Easter Sunday but called off ahead of time due to the weather forecast.

Saturday’s match programme will be a special double header edition, also covering next Wednesday’s British Semi-Final at Rye House, and be priced at £3. Those not present against the Scorpions to buy the programme next Wednesday will pay £1

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