Poignant challenge match beckons against Heathens

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One of the most famous names in world speedway visit Owerton this evening as an experimental Sheffield side take on Dudley Heathens in a challenge fixture (7.45pm).

The Heathens are one of the most notorious clubs in the land and nurtured some of speedway’s best ever riders in their former guise of Cradley, but the reformed Dudley team have made a significant impact since their return to the sport three years ago.

Sheffield have drafted in some National League guest riders to balance the sides out, with Dudley bringing their full strength side for the inter-league Ozchem Trophy challenge.

Ozchem was the company of Darren Boocock, a great friend of Sheffield speedway, who died in 2008.

Heathens boss Will Pottinger said: “We’re pleased to be coming to Owlerton and thank Sheffield for the invitation.

“It will be great for our guys to get some experience at such a magnificent venue in front of the Sheffield fans.

“We have great support and a lot of our fans are making the trip, we haven’t ridden at Owlerton in 17 years so it should be a brilliant night.”

Tigers regulars Joe Haines, Facundo Albin, Damien Koppe and Jake Knight all take their place in the side and they are joined by club asset Jordan Tyrer, young Kiwi Hayden Sims and Buxton rider Matt Williamson.

Sheffield owner Neil Machin spoke of his excitement at seeing two fascinating teams do battle.

He said “Dudley have enjoyed tremendous success since they entered the National league a couple of years ago and tonight’s team is typical of the progressive characters who are the future of British Speedway.”

The Heathens team includes three Premier League regulars in Ashley Morris, Lewis Blackbird and Paul Starke, whilst they are waiting on news from British Youth Champion Nathan Greaves, who suffered a hand injury on Tuesday.