FORMER title-winning Coventry manager Alun Rossiter will be back in charge for their latest Challenge match on Wednesday at Poole.
Rossiter, now boss of Swindon and Great Britain, managed the Bees to the Elite League Championship in 2010, as they clinched the crown in astonishing circumstances at Wimborne Road.
And a further throwback to one of the greatest nights in the club’s history will come with a guest appearance in the team for all-time Bees legend Chris Harris.
No Coventry supporter can ever forget the drama of the Grand Final nearly seven years ago when Harris was unavoidably run over by team-mate Lewis Bridger in the first staging of Heat 6, only to defy the pain and get the better of Chris Holder in a truly epic re-run.
Harris was then unbeaten for the remainder of the meeting as the Bees completed an unbelievable overall triumph having been second from bottom in the Elite League table just five weeks before the play-offs.
Harris had already elected to move to pastures new for 2017 even prior to the club’s winter uncertainty, and he secured a fresh challenge at top-flight newcomers Rye House after spending 11 of the previous 13 seasons with the Bees.
Rossiter’s two-year stint in charge was a shorter period in the club’s proud history, but also hugely memorable - not just for the title triumph, but also for the arrival of exciting talents such as Przemyslaw Pawlicki and Emil Sayfutdinov into Coventry colours.
The Coventry-Poole rivalry in the Elite League pre-dated Rossiter’s involvement, and also continued beyond it.
The Pirates won the Grand Final between the clubs in 2003 before the Bees eliminated the Pirates in the play-offs on their way to the Treble in 2007.
In 2014, they met again in the Grand Final with Poole taking the honours after narrowly winning a controversial first leg at Brandon; whilst in 2015 the Pirates were clear winners in the semi-finals as the Bees’ injuries caught up with them.
Despite Coventry’s less than successful 2016 campaign, they did beat Poole twice at Brandon, and Gary Havelock’s time in charge of the club also included two exciting away wins at Wimborne Road.
This year’s Pirates team includes two recent Bees heat-leaders in Krzysztof Kasprzak and Hans Andersen, whilst Lewis Kerr rides for the home side as he continues a short-term stint as an injury replacement for Kyle Newman.
For Coventry, Kerr is replaced by Stefan Nielsen who gets another outing after his impressive show at Wolverhampton, and then an Individual meeting win at the Isle of Wight last Thursday.
New father Josh Bates returns at reserve after missing the Monmore clash due to injury, in a meeting which will provide him with useful track time as he will go for a third British Under-21 crown at Wimborne Road next Wednesday.
We would like to again put on record our thanks to Matt Ford and the rest of the Poole management for their help in making sure Wednesday’s fixture take place. The rivalry between the two clubs helped generate some of the most thrilling speedway of the Elite League era, and it is a rivalry we are all desperate to resume.
POOLE: Krzysztof Kasprzak, Jack Holder, Lewis Kerr, Brady Kurtz, Hans Andersen, Nicolai Klindt, James Shanes. COVENTRY: Danny King, Stefan Nielsen, Jason Garrity, Lasse Bjerre, Chris Harris, James Sarjeant, Josh Bates.
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