AFTER last Friday’s Knockout Cup exploits, the Somerset Rebels return to Premier League action this week, and what a match it promises to be as they welcome many pundits’ favourites for the Premier League title, the Glasgow Tigers, to the Oaktree Arena tomorrow night (Friday).
Glasgow were the runaway Premier League Champions in 2011 and lost in last year’s Championship Grand Final, this after knocking Somerset out of the Play-Offs in the semi-final stages in a match which was not decided until the very last of the 30 heats of action spread over the course of the two matches between the sides.
The Tigers have so far lived up to their pre-season hype in winning their League Cup group to qualify for the semi-final stages of the competition, and only suffered their first defeat of the season last Friday when they narrowly lost away at Edinburgh in what was effectively a dead rubber to complete their League Cup group matches.
As far as the Premier League itself is concerned, Glasgow made it three wins out of three on Sunday which moved them up to 3rd place in the league standings, though all three matches ridden to date have been on their home Ashfield shale.
On paper, Glasgow have a strong-looking top 4, which is headed by Richard Lawson, who combines his Tigers duties with that of Lakeside in the Elite League, and is one of just two riders retained from the 2015 side, the other being club captain Aaron Summers.
The ‘engine room’ of the team is manned by two riders who have previously ridden for Somerset, namely Cornishman Ben Barker and Richie Worrall, while the main body of the team is completed by double Finnish Under-21 Champion, Nike Lunna, who made the move to Glasgow from Scunthorpe with whom he spent the 2015 campaign.
Finally, at reserve, Glasgow track Argentine Fernando Garcia, who joined the Tigers from Berwick during the winter, and young British rider Danny Ayres.
Somerset go into this mouth-watering clash with a full septet, as Rohan Tungate returns to the side after missing last Friday’s home KO Cup encounter with Workington due to his participation in a Grand Prix qualification meeting in Denmark.
“Glasgow, like ourselves, have made an excellent start to the season and so far they are living up to the speedway pundits’ expectations,” said Somerset team manager Garry May, “but in saying that our boys have been riding well this year and I think we have surprised a few along the way.”
“Glasgow are sure to give us a stern test, but I know that the boys are well up for this meeting, and having been sat at the top of the Premier League table for a couple of weeks now, they are determined to maintain our unbeaten league record and our place at the top of the table.”