Stars unveil new signings

King's Lynn Stars' signalled their 2008 Premier League title intentions last night by unveiling John Oliver and Simon Lambert in a new look reserve duo.

King's Lynn Stars' signalled their 2008 Premier League title intentions last night by unveiling John Oliver and Simon Lambert in a new look reserve duo.

Popular grand slam winner Oliver returns after missing the second half of last season when he broke his thigh bone in a horrific incident that marred a Premier Trophy win over Stoke.

Young Lynn asset Lambert forms a strong looking bottom end pairing after grabbing his chance to impress during the club's successful defence of their Premier Trophy and KO Cup crowns.

Stars' co-promoter Jonathan Chapman revealed the news to a packed Norfolk Arena supporters' forum.

“We've realised how important it is to get a strong reserve pairing,” he said. “It's not just about the top two or the middle order. John still has a pin in his leg but he wants to ride and will be building up his fitness during the Australian season over the winter.

“Simon had to prove his worth and he did that towards the end of last season. I really think he can push on and be a fantastic member of the team. He's a strong character and we feel he is now ready.”

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Lynn's twin-pronged top end strike force - minus Premier League rider-of-the-year Daniel Nermark - will be unveiled at another fans' forum scheduled for Wednesday, December 12.

The Swedish heat leader has been signed by ambitious Workington Comets and will move to Derwent Park as their new number one.

Chapman confirmed the club had toyed with the idea of moving up to the televised Elite League but are prepared to bide their time following changes to the second tier announced at the annual promoters' conference.

“We were edging towards the Elite but I wouldn't say it was an 11th hour decision not to join on our part,” he said. “It was our decision and we felt the Premier suited us. With 18 teams and the other changes we expect it to be much more competitive this time around. We want to win everything again - why not? That's the aim when we start out every season and last year we proved we could build on the fantastic success of the previous season.”

Reading will drop down from the Elite while Oxford could also run if they meet a deadline to secure a deal to race at their Cowley stadium. Conference League champions Scunthorpe have also decided to make the step up.

A new style promotion and relegation system between the Elite and Premier was the headline change announced by the sport's bosses.

The Premier League top four will contest end-of-season play-offs with the winners going forward to face the winners of a relegation shoot out between the bottom two in the Elite for a place in the 2009 Elite League.

Premier League chiefs also agreed the team finishing top of the pile in the regular season standings will be declared champions - irrespective of the promotion/relegation decider. Lynn would have retained their title under the new system which eventually went to Rye House last year who clinched the playoffs.

The aggregate bonus point system has been scrapped. Teams will now earn two points for a home Premier League win and three for an away victory - a move initiated by Chapman.

“This will keep the league much more interesting and a lot closer,” he said. “It stops teams being very strong at home - which I know we are - but we also did it on the road. Rye House won the play-offs but won only three away meetings.”

Lynn begin their campaign with a home and away inter-league challenge against Ipswich. The Witches visit the Norfolk Arena on Wednesday, March 12 with the return 24 hours later.

The club will begin their Premier League KO Cup defence against either new boys Reading or Oxford. Lynn have been drawn in group three of the Premier Trophy against local rivals Rye House, Mildenhall and Birmingham.