The Wightlink Islanders head north to Stoke this evening for the penultimate match in their 2013 National Trophy campaign knowing that they need a mere point from tonight’s match and Tuesday’s home encounter at Smallbrook against the Kent Kings to clinch the title.
And they’ve been boosted ahead of tonight’s encounter at Loomer Road by the news that No.1 Tom Perry will now lead them into battle for his Premier League side Somerset’s match at Workington, originally intended to take place tonight too, has now been switched to tomorrow (Sunday) and so Tom WILL be riding for ourselves tonight before then heading up to Cumbria.
So it’s a full-strength Wightlink Islanders septet that will be in action this evening and they, together with management duo Chris Hunt and Kevin Shepherd, are confident that they can clinch the first major trophy up for grabs in the 2013 National League by achieving what’s required of them at Loomer Road.
They are very much intending to clinch the Trophy in style by winning tonight’s match but mindful of the fact that Stoke are never an easy side to get the better of on their own circuit as evidenced by the fact that they have beaten both Mildenhall and King’s Lynn in home matches so far this year and held ourselves to a 46-46 draw in an early season challenge match up there.
“No it won’t be easy to win there tonight,” admittted Wightlink Islanders co-boss Chris Hunt, “but we’ll be going there intending to do that by battling for each and every point over the course of the fifteen heats.
“We’re feeling confident going into tonight’s clash that we can clinch the title even though we have the back up as it were of knowing that we still have the home match against Kent to come on Tuesday if we still need that one point we require after tonight.
“We don’t intend to let it come down to that though and we’ll very much be looking to win or draw against the Potters or, at the very least lose by six points or less as that too will give us the point we need.
“Make no mistake though, we’re going there to win!”
2013 NATIONAL TROPHY TABLE
P W D L For Agst PTS
ISLE OF WIGHT 6 5 0 1 316 211 18
Mildenhall 7 5 0 2 328 315 14
Stoke 3 1 0 2 126 154 3
Buxton 6 1 1 4 247 304 4
Kent 4 0 1 3 151 184 2
Photo: Ian Groves