It’s crunch time for the Wasps
1:10pm Saturday 24th September 2011 in Sport
THE next two weekends could prove to be the most successful in Newport Wasps’ modern history.
Tomorrow dashing Dane Charlie Gjedde and Australian ace Jason Doyle head to Sheffield to compete in the individual British Premier League Rider’s Championship (tapes-up 5pm).
And next weekend Mike Manning Audio Wasps will host and visit Glasgow Tigers in the two-legged final of the BPL Knockout Cup.
Since being reformed in 1997, the Wasps have only lifted silverware once – when they beat the Edinburgh Monarchs to become Premier Trophy winners in 1999.
Now comes a couple of crunch weekends which could reward the club’s long-suffering fans.
Gjedde and Doyle both double up with Elite League sides Belle Vue Aces and Poole Pirates respectively and the Danish star will start at Sheffield as favourite to land the title.
Doyle will have an outsider’s chance of making the podium after being handed his chance to compete following the withdrawal of Rye House Rockets’ former Wasps man Chris Neath through injury.
Before Sunday’s individual championship, Gjedde and Doyle will combine to form part of the Wasps team which returns to BPL action for first time since the 54-40 home league success over Redcar Bears on August 31.
Since then the Wasps have ridden just twice – in the two-legged Knockout Cup semi-final victory over Workington Comets last weekend – and their inactivity has seen them slip from seventh to 11th in the 14-strong table.
But with a recent league and cup record of 14 wins and a draw from their last 19 fixtures, the Wasps have enough talent and meetings in hand to rise as high as sixth before the end of the 2011 season.
They visited Scunthorpe last night before entertaining the Lincolnshire club at Queensway Meadows Stadium tonight (tapes up at 7pm).
The clashes are phase-two fixtures and the Wasps will be seeking revenge having been beaten home and away by the Scorpions in phase-one meetings in July, 49-43 at home and 52-41 away.
Scunthorpe will include ex-Wasps ace Carl Wilkinson, who has recently regained his place in the Scorpions’ team after he lost it earlier this season because of a broken leg.
Scunthorpe are sixth in the table on 51 points, seven ahead of the Wasps.
Scunthorpe (from): Richard Hall; David Howe; Thomas Jørgensen; Michael Palm Toft; Carl Wilkinson; Ben Wilson; Steve Worrall.
Newport Wasps (from): Robin Aspegren; Jason Doyle; Charlie Gjedde; Mark Jones; Todd Kurtz; Leigh Lanham (capt); Anders Mellgren.
At Newport tonight, Somerset Rebels' Australian rider Cory Gathercole will guest for David Howe.