Scunthorpe Stags in National League

Dec 1st, 2023
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SCUNTHORPE STAGS IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE

SCUNTHORPE speedway fans will have two teams to support in 2024, with the Scunthorpe Stags rejoining the National Development League after a ten-year absence.

The National Development League is British Speedway’s third tier behind the Premiership and Championship. Clubs can enter a side in addition to competing in one of the two top leagues.

Scunthorpe will enter a joint team with Sheffield, and they will take their place in a six-team NDL alongside Leicester, Belle Vue, Edinburgh, fellow newcomers Redcar and reigning champions Oxford.

Scunthorpe and Sheffield previously entered a joint team in 2011 and won the NDL after a tense final with Mildenhall. Both Ashley Birks and Gary Irving then graduated to the main Scunthorpe side in 2012 and won the Premier League with Scorpions. Stags last entered a side in the NDL in 2014.

Scunthorpe promoter Rob Godfrey said: “Damien (Bates), the promoter at Sheffield, contacted me and asked me if I wanted to go 50/50 and enter a side in the National Development League in 2024 and I agreed.

“We’ll run half our home fixtures at our Eddie Wright Raceway and half the meetings at Sheffield’s Owlerton stadium. It will be one team of seven riders operating at two tracks – we will be the Scunthorpe Stags when we race at the EWR and the Sheffield Prowlers when we race there.

“The last time the two clubs entered a joint team in 2011, we won the league. I’m not saying we’re going to do that again, because the emphasis will be on rider development, although we do plan to put out a competitive side. I’m sure the side will attract the supporters and that the fans will get behind the team.

“Simon Lambert, the skipper of the Scunthorpe Scorpions, has been coordinating putting together a side and he is very keen to be involved on the management side.

“We’ve always done our bit in developing younger riders, even when we haven’t been in the NDL. We will again be running a British Youth round at Scunthorpe in 2024, as we do every year, while the amateur meetings organised by Richard Hollingsworth have been a key part of our club for a long time.

“The difference between now and the last time we ran a joint team with Sheffield is we’re now in different leagues. There’s an opportunity for riders to compete in both the NDL and Championship for Scunthorpe, and who knows after that, they could be riding for both Scorpions in the Championship and Sheffield Tigers in the Premiership in the Rising Star position.”

The points limit for the NDL is 36.00 and rider announcements will follow in due course. The second rider for the 2024 Scunthorpe Scorpions is due to be announced next Thursday.

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