George Dodds's picture

And so it begins, as it ended … with the Tiggers in toon.
Thursday’s Championship fixture launch revealed that former Shielfield Park track record holder Craig Cook’s Glasgow open the Shielfield season on April 4.
Few need reminding just how good it was the last time the two teams met on English shale and there is no reason to think that the first of two clashes scheduled under the innovative fixture format for this season will have any fewer talking points when the dust settles.
Seven days the Bandits will have had their first taste of the reshaped Shielfield bowl with Press and Practice from 6.30pm and then over the car park for the now traditional Steve Heywood-ing in the Black and Gold.
The promotion has opted to hit the ground running by preceding the home opener with a trip to Redcar on April 3 and complete the opening weekend sandwich by venturing down the A1 to Newcastle on opening Sunday.
The Diamonds’ make the reverse journey on Easter Saturday before the fixtures settle into a more predictable format.
KO Cup matches against Leicester make for a busy May with eight fixtures in total while June is another interesting month – three home meetings and a solitary trip to Birmingham – although there is a reserved date, presumably waiting for the next round of the cup.
We claim Saturday seniority which means that Eastbourne host us on a Sunday – as indeed it should be for those of us of a certain age – we make our first trip to Poole for the best part in three decades at the end of April.
May also offers the mouth-watering fare of back-to-back Monarching while the business end of the season – with the battle for a top six playoff place no doubt red hot has a little bit of everything in it – including Berwick’s first-ever trip to Kent – unless we have faced them on the way to the KO Cup final of course!
It’s an interesting looking set of fixtures with, weather permitting of course, more flow to it than last year, helped in no small part by the new teams joining the Championship.
The only problem is that it’s still over two months’ away.
Now if you’re struggling to get your speedway fix during the close season perhaps you’d like to make the acquaintance of Jiri Klidera.
Jiri hails from Pardubice in the Czech Republic and contacted me via this website.
He’s looking for fellow speedway nuts who want to collect and swap autograph cards and programmes.
He writes: “I can offer cards of classic speedway riders such as Greg Hancock and Niki Pederson and also guys from longtrack and ice speedway such as Dmitrii Khomitsevich, Franky Zorn and Max Niedermaier.”
He is also offering to swap programmes from GPs and events in Italy, Germany and his native Czech Republic.
Anyone wanting to fill in the hours until the new season – and I do hope that the management resurrect the season countdown clock of two years’ ago – contact Jiri directly at j.klindera@seznam.cz
It’ll help keep you out of trouble until Cookie comes to a-calling.