Stars chase glory

King's Lynn co-promoter Jonathan Chapman is backing his Stars to shine in tonight's mouthwatering Premier Trophy final, first leg against Sheffield.Chapman predicts fireworks for a bumper Norfolk Arena crowd as the Premier League heavyweights collide head on.

King's Lynn co-promoter Jonathan Chapman is backing his Stars to shine in tonight's mouthwatering Premier Trophy final, first leg against Sheffield.

Chapman predicts fireworks for a bumper Norfolk Arena crowd as the Premier League heavyweights collide head on.

Lynn will target a healthy first leg advantage at fortress Saddlebow ahead of tomorrow's return trip to Owlerton, where the Stars will be backed by an expected 400-strong army.

"I'm so excited - this is shaping up to be a fantastic season," said Chapman. "I sense a few nerves around the place, which is probably a good thing. If we can just get that first trophy out of the way and build some momentum then there'll be no stopping us.


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"If I was putting money on the result I'd put it on King's Lynn - but we respect Sheffield and there is no danger of us taking anything for granted."

Chapman was an interested spectator at West Row for the Tigers 46-44 Bank Holiday triumph against Mildenhall.

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"We went over on a spying mission and they were fairly impressive," he admitted. "Six of their riders had never seen the track before, which isn't the case at our place. Ben Wilson won his British U21 title at the Arena this season, Kyle Legault goes well and Andre Compton's average is every bit as good as Tomas Topinka's - you don't get that from being a home rider.

"Sheffield are the only team to beat us on aggregate as well. I know the second leg of the Yorkshire Cup was badly affected by rain, but that result still stands."

Stars team boss Rob Lyon dismisses Tigers' co-promoter Neil Machin's claims Sheffield arrive as massive underdogs.

"We don't take much notice of that," he said. "The approach is exactly the same - even though it's a cup final and they tend to be tense affairs.

"A lead would be nice but whatever the outcome we've shown already we can perform at Sheffield this year after drawing in the league. All I'll say to the boys is 'enjoy it, you've got here on merit - now go and do the same job you've done all season'."

Lyon senses Edinburgh's gutsy display in defeat at the Arena last Saturday could prove a perfect tune-up.

"It was a cracking meeting," he said. "The track was on the slicker side with all the recent wet weather but Edinburgh were a bit sharper out of the gate. We need to be the team controlling races although our home form is good at the moment. I don't think it's about sending out messages to the league, but psychologically it must have an effect."

Chapman is confident his men can thrive in tonight's cauldron against the 2001 winners as they chase an historic grand slam.

"These are special nights and the atmosphere will inspire the boys," he said. "Everyone talks about the pressure of being favourites this year. Rye House were in that situation last season and cracked. I think the experience we gained winning the double can only help us, especially with a big crowd.

"The boys will probably be expecting a bonus now so I've promised to take them out for a McDonalds."

Stars: 1 Kevin Doolan, 2 Troy Batchelor, 3 Trevor Harding, 4 Daniel Nermark, 5 Tomas Topinka, 6 Chris Mills, 7 John Oliver.

Tigers: 1 Ricky Ashworth, 2 Ben Wilson, 3 Kyle Legault, 4 Emiliano Sanchez, 5 Andre Compton, 6 Paul Cooper, 7 Benji Compton.

Admission prices: £11 adults, £8 concessions, £4 children (aged 12 to 15) with free entry for children aged 11 and under.

Gates open: 5.30pm. For further information visit norfolkarena.co.uk or ring 01553 771111.

Author Jeff Scott will be at the Norfolk Arena tonight signing copies of his new book 'Showered in Shale' - described as one man's journey through the country in pursuit of a speedway obsession. Among the 500-pages is a chapter on Lynn's 2005 Premier League home win against Newport.

For further information visit methanolpress.com or contact 01273 692215.

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