Scott on brink of glory
SCOTT Nicholls stands on the brink of becoming a world champ.And the Ipswich Evening Star Witches skipper admits that it would put the icing on the cake in his testimonial season.
By Elvin King
SCOTT Nicholls stands on the brink of becoming a world champ.
And the Ipswich Evening Star Witches skipper admits that it would put the icing on the cake in his testimonial season.
If Nicholls helps Team Great Britain to win the world cup final at Poole tonight it will strengthen his resolve to lead the Witches to the 2004 Sky Bet Elite League championship.
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“That would put the icing on the icing,” said Nicholls, who played a leading role when Britain won their heat on Monday at Eastbourne to clinch their place in tonight's eagerly anticipated meeting.
They meet last season's winners Sweden, Denmark and Poland after pre-tournament favourites Australia were surprisingly omitted in Thursday's Run-Off at Poole.
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Poland pipped the Aussies on the post with Ipswich asset Tomasz Gollob ending off a determined display by the Poles with a last race pass on Jason Crump to secure second place behind Sweden.
Ipswich-based Nicholls missed the first two world cups in their current format through injury, and bad luck has dogged much of his career.
But the 26-year-old now has a great chance of putting his name in the record books as a world champion on a track where he rode in 1999 and 2000 while on loan from Ipswich.
“This is the best opportunity we have had for a number of years, but we know it will be very tough as the other three countries all have a chance,” said Nicholls, who as captain will lift the trophy if Great Britain are victors of a meeting being televised live.
If tonight's racing is half as good as the spectacular Run-Off meeting at Poole on Thursday then fans are in for a treat.
Team GB boss Neil Middleditch has adopted a 'horses for courses' selection policy and replaced Joe Screen with Gary Havelock.
Screen scored nine points in Monday's win at Eastbourne, but then asked Middleditch to drop him and pick Havelock for the final. Middleditch said: “Using Havvy at Poole was always in my thoughts, but it was good of Joe to come out and say he should drop down.”
Screen added: “I've not had a good time at Poole in the last couple of years and picking Havvy is the right decision. I will still be there as part of the team and I think we can win the World Cup.”
Nicholls' Ipswich team-mate Hans Andersen is a key member of the Danish side, while Jarek Hampel joins Gollob in being a Witches asset in the Polish side. Swedish star man, Tony Rickardsson, is also owned by Ipswich.
Team Great Britain: Scott Nicholls, Mark Loram, Lee Richardson, David Norris, Gary Havelock.
Sweden: Andreas Jonsson, Tony Rickardsson, Mikael Max, Peter Karlsson, Antonio Lindback.
Poland: Tomasz Gollob, Jarek Hampel, Grzegorz Walasek, Janusz Kolodziej, Krzysztof Kasprzak.
Denmark: Hans Andersen, Nicki Pedersen, Kenneth Bjerre, Niels-Kristian Iversen, Bjarne Pedersen.