Hammers boss applauds play-off rule

PUBLISHED: 14:32 10 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:15 04 March 2010

LAKESIDE Hammers have welcomed the decision to change the Play-off system from 6 to 4 teams following a majority vote involving all nine Elite League Clubs.

LAKESIDE Hammers have welcomed the decision to change the Play-off system from 6 to 4 teams following a majority vote involving all nine Elite League Clubs.

Co promoter Jon Cook stated: "We will have to work considerably harder now as a team to make the top four but we voted with Speedway's best interests in mind, rather than that of our team. A six team Play Off system in a League of only nine was clearly too large an amount of fixtures to race late in the season and the idea that a team could come from 5th or 6th to win the title totally undermines the whole 32 match League season before it. Personally I don't like Play Offs, or the Americanisation of Sport that they represent, but at least now we have a system whereby the top minority of the Elite have a chance of the title whereas previously two thirds of the League were in with a chance. That was crazy and thankfully commonsense has prevailed, albeit at a rather embarrassingly late stage."

The Hammers will, however, be concentrating on the Cup this week with their semi final tie against Swindon. The away leg down at their Abbey Stadium takes place tomorrow, Thursday 11th June, with the return leg at the Hammers home Arena-Essex Raceway the following evening (Friday 12th June).

The two tracks are considerable different in size so the Hammers riders will be looking to keep the scores as close as possible down in Wiltshire to give them the opportunity to claiming the win on aggregate in front of their own loyal supporters on the Friday.

The Hammers are expected to be at full strength for both matches but the Swindon Robins appear to have a few problems. Their No.1 Leigh Adams will not be available for the second leg due to GP practice and their new signing, Matej Zagar is likely to miss their home leg due to a re-arranged Polish league fixture on the same night. Coventry's Edward Kennett will replace Adams on Friday but the Robins will need to bring in a Premier League rider whose average is 6 points or below to cover for Zagar on Thursday.

The two legs will be made even more interesting due to former long serving Hammer, Paul Hurry, making his debut for the Robins in these fixtures following his departure from Poole.

The action on Friday at the Arena-Essex Raceway will get underway at the usual time of 8pm for the first race.

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