King’s Lynn skipper Allen answers his country’s call
King's Lynn skipper Olly Allen has been drafted into the Team GB squad for next month's World Team Cup event on home shale at the Norfolk Arena.
The Norwich-based racer is on stand-by after Neil Middleditch named his starting quintet for the July 11 qualifier against reigning champions Poland, emerging powers Russia and the Czech Republic. Allen has been in scintillating form for the Stars during their impressive start to life back in the Elite League. Newly-crowned British champion Scott Nicholls and likely skipper Chris Harris will spearhead the domestic challenge at King's Lynn along with talented youngsters Tai Woffinden, Edward Kennett and Ben Barker. Allen, Simon Stead, Lewis Bridger and Danny King are all part of the home squad.
'I'm delighted with my team and the attitude shown by the boys is fantastic,' said Middleditch. 'After all the speculation and uncertainty surrounding who would be available, we have a team of determined riders who are proud to ride for their country. Ben Barker in particular was very emotional when I told him he had made the starting line-up, he was made up. It was a big moment for the lad and we know we will get nothing less than 100pc from the boy.
'Despite all the doom and gloom portrayed by some members of the media I feel really positive and excited about the King's Lynn meeting and we are going to give it everything we've got. We need the fans to do the same.'
Barker pushed his claims with a paid 14 display in GB's recent Ashes-clinching Test Match against Australia at Lakeside. Allen's international credentials were endorsed by Lynn team chief Rob Lyon only last week who urged Middleditch to utilise the 29-year-old's mastery of Saddlebow.
'I think it's probably fair to say this year is his best for a long time at Elite League level. He seems to be thriving on the responsibility of the captaincy,' said Lyon, after Allen guided Lynn to victory against Coventry recently. 'I believe he is riding as well around here as he has in a long, long time. He traps and it's the sort of track the way he rides the bike where he can pick up points against anybody. If I was Neil Middleditch I would have one eye on him for the World Cup around here.'
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• Lynn's Young Stars host Scunthorpe tonight in the National League at the Norfolk Arena (7.30pm).
Kyle Hughes leads the team at number one with club captain James Cockle and Scott Campos providing heat leader back-up. In-form Jake Knight moves into the main body of the team at number four. The hosts will operate rider replacement for the injured Lewis Kerr with Tom Stokes and Oliver Rayson racing at reserve.
Young Stars: 1 Kyle Hughes, 2 Lewis Kerr R/R, 3 Scott Campos, 4 Jake Knight, 5 James Cockle, 6 Tom Stokes, 7 Oliver Rayson.