Devils welcome old boy Sedgmen back for Bears clash
PLYMOUTH Devils boss Mike Bowden insists there is no hard feelings between himself and Australian Justin Sedgmen, who dramatically quit the club just before a meeting last year.
Teenaged rider Sedgmen returns to the St Boniface Arena for the first time since last September with the Redcar Bears for tonight's Premier League meeting (7.30).
Sedgmen astonished Devils fans by announcing he was retiring from speedway hours before a home meeting with Workington last season.
His abrupt departure for Australia left a hole in the Devils' squad, which Bowden had to fill with guest riders.
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Sedgmen was judged by the speedway authorities to be witholding his labour from the Devils, which prevented him from riding from any UK club until the end of the season.
Bowden, though, made it clear he is not holding any grudges against the teenager.
He said: "Justin rode a few meetings for us and then went home last year.
"But I think he was having a hard time in England and decided to leave.
"However, there's certainly no hard feelings over what happened, although it would be nice to beat Redcar."
The Bears are just one place above Plymouth, who are second-bottom of the Premier League.
Devils can move above the Bears if they win – and comfortably into mid-table if other results go their way.
Plymouth have ridden just two meetings, compared with Redcar's five, with the Bears a point above their hosts.
Devils will have Elite League rider Ricky Kling from Poole guesting for skipper Ben Barker, who is on the continent for a Grand Prix qualifying meeting.
Devils's new signing, Australian Robert Ksiezak, is set to make his debut at reserve in place of Gino Franchetti, who has been released after a series of disappointing scores.
It will be Kling's second guest appearance at the St Boniface Arena this season as he stood in for Rye House's Chris Neath in Plymouth's opening meeting, scoring 11 (paid 12) points from his six rides.
Both teams will operate the rider replacement facility.
The Devils are without Cory Gathercole, who is away because of a long track qualifying meeting, while Redcar's Ulrich Ostergaard is out with a broken shoulder.
Leading the challenge for the visitors will be Australian Aaron Summers and Matej Kus from the Czech Republic with support from Carl Wilkinson and Sedgmen.
Completing the side at reserve will be Australian Mark Jones and Max Dilger from Germany.
Devils: Ricky Kling, James Holder, rider replacement for Cory Gathercole, Todd Kurtz, Ryan Fisher. Reserves: Nicki Glanz, Robert Ksiezak.
Redcar: Aaron Summers, rider replacement for Ulrich Ostergaard, Justin Sedgmen, Carl Wilkinson, Matej Kus. Reserves: Mark Jones, Max Dilger.