Rye House ready for KO Cup decider

The climax of the Silver Ski Rockets’ 2013 season is just days away as they prepare to entertain Somerset in the second leg of the Knock-Out Cup Final on Sunday, October 6th (2pm start).

Reaching the trophy decider has been a remarkable achievement for a team originally dubbed “Generation Next” but which has, thanks to relentless injury and adversity, seemingly been ground down into “Generation Hexed”.

Example: Olly Allen’s broken forearm. Example: Jason Garrity’s broken leg. Example: Example: Simon Lambert’s broken ankle. Example: Tyson Nelson’s absence through U-21 commitments.

Yet against all those odds, the Rockets have made the Cup Final, where now they must rebound both from a 59-31 first leg deficit and the ignominy of last Saturday’s home slump against Redcar in the League.

Team manager John Sampford is looking forward to the match on two levels. First and foremost, he expects to oversee a team that will be a different proposition to the one beaten down by the Bears. “Redcar had just seen off Newcastle by a convincing score in the Play-Offs, and they are definitely on a roll as an in-form team.

“But from our own perspective, the reasons for Saturday’s defeat are pretty self-evident. As was the case on Friday (when the Rockets dropped the Cup’s first leg at Somerset), you can’t cover with Rider-Replacement someone like Tyson Nelson (who was away representing Australia in the U-21 World Cup Final). The remaining resources just aren’t enough. And Olly Allen had a nightmare meeting with fall after fall.

“Tyson will be back on Sunday, and you have to believe that Saturday’s other circumstances can’t possibly be repeated.”

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As to the matter specifically at hand, Sampford is well aware of the scope of the challenge in overcoming a 28 point deficit against the team that has topped the Premier League’s regular season table, but is also convinced of his team’s self-belief. “We are very clearly the underdogs, and no one gives us a prayer. But that takes a bit of the pressure off too. We’ve got nothing to lose, and we’ll just throw everything at it so that we go out with the biggest bang possible, regardless of the final score.”

Teams (alphabetical order):

Rye House: Olly Allen, Pontus Aspgren, Jason Bunyan (captain), Jason Garrity (if fit), Kasper Lykke, Anders Mellgren, Tyson Nelson

Somerset: Alex Davies, Jason Doyle (captain), Josh Grajczonek, Oliver Greenwood (guest) Nick Morris, Kyle Newman, Charles Wright

Sunday’s main event will be followed by a further six heats in the first leg of the Midland Development League Championship Final between defending titlists Milton Keynes and Belle Vue. After that, it’s all adjourn to the long Bar for the club’s end of season presentations, including the Mr Rocket rider of the year award, to bring down the final curtain on the 2013 campaign.

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