Rothery and Phillips last week against Berwick Image Credit: Jamie Kenny

Gems Will Provide A Stiff Test

PREVIEW Friday 14th May 2021, 1:30pm

by Graham Muncie

The Stellar Devils are back in action this week looking to build on an encouraging start to the season as they welcome the Newcastle Gems to West Lothian in National Development League Action.

Very much like the Devils the Gems are newly formed and racing their maiden season at this level with this their debut match and after a difficult 18 months I'm sure Rob Grant and all at Newcastle will just be glad to get back to the business of racing.

In what seems to be a theme for National League outfits that also have a Championship squad as well the Gems are led by a pair of Diamonds team members also in Max Clegg and Joe Alcock.

Clegg off course needs no introduction to the Armadale faithful after 4 years and a title win as a Monarch and with a starting average of over 10 coupled with his Championship experience many expect Max to be the top dog in the division this year.

The 22 year old Stoke born racer Alcock is a lot less experienced than Clegg and was perhaps a surprise inclusion in the Championship team but at National League level he is an experienced campaigner and as always the hope will be that good results for the Gems will correspond to similar for the Diamonds.

Making their Armadale debuts will be the engine room of the Gems team Kelsey Dugard and Ryan Terry-Daley, Dugard is perhaps the more well-known of the two due to the famous family name and coming in on a sub 4 point average and certainly is hoping to exceed on this saying he is looking to increase this to at least 7 on this week's preview show.

Terry-Daley is another who is well travelled at this level though with previous spells at Mildenhall, Coventry, Stoke, Plymouth, IOW and Leicester so has the relevant experience to hit the ground running this week.

Josh Embleton rounds out the top 5 and he is no stranger to the northern scene with previous appearances in the Caledonian Riders Championship so he will be a big test for the home top men also.

The dream of all National League outfits is to bring young local riders on and that is definitely the case with the Gem reserves as a pair of 16 year old Newcastle locals fill the berths in Archie Freeman and Danny Smith. Freeman is one who is expected to make a mockery of his starting average and having reached the final of the British Youth round at Armadale last year his battles with George Rothery could well be the highlight. Smith is maybe the less flashy off the two but is another who will look to take the grounding received from those youth rounds into his debut season.

For the Stellar Devils this will be their 3rd matches in as many weekends and a win will see them top the table at this early stage, while the name of the game is development and building confidence success certainly helps this along so that would be a lovely place to be albeit at this early stage.

Each of the Devils can take positives from performances so far with Nathan Greaves, Tom Woolley and Danny Phillips all riding well although Phillips may be looking for a bigger score than last week when he unfortunately came down after his best start.

Things haven't been easy for Sheldon Davies and Lewis Millar in the second string positions but both can look to paid 3 last Friday as scores to build on with Sheldon having 2 scoring rides and Lewis his first paid win.

All things being considered the most talked about man in the young British season is undoubtedly George Rothery with paid 28 points from his first two meetings a continuation on this would go a long way to victory this week but no pressure will be placed on the Cumbrian's shoulders.

Gregor Millar was the unlucky one last week being in the wrong place at the wrong time both on and off the track, first up having to lay down in heat 2 when it looked like the Berwick pair were about to collide then sacrificing a ride to Rothery as the Devils needed to secure the match points another week to get ready for tonight's fixture will have helped and Gregor will be raring to go alongside the rest of his teammates.

So a tasty looking fixture lays ahead with battles all the way down the line-up from Clegg vs Greaves down to Rothery vs Freeman, unfortunately we are still a week away before fans can get trackside to see it but the match as all matches from Armadale are will be livestreamed on both the Monarchs and Devils websites so get the stream purchased get logged on early and enjoy another night watching the future of the sport!

Friday night is speedway night and speedway night is back!

Live Stream

You can watch Friday's home fixture against the Newcastle Gems live on EMTV. Click below to pre-order your access:

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