Rain puts a cloud over Plymouth Devils Tigers clash
PLYMOUTH Devils boss Mike Bowden admitted tonight's home clash is in the balance for the second week running because of torrential rain.
The club are likely to be in excess of £1,000 out of pocket through lost revenue if tonight's Premier League match with Sheffield Tigers (7.30pm) is called off.
But that amount will be doubled if Tigers travel from the north and the match is called off after they get to Plymouth.
That is because Devils will be liable for Sheffield's travelling expenses if the meeting is not postponed before the Tigers head for Plymouth.
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Last Friday, Devils were awarded their expenses after they travelled to Scunthorpe for a league meeting which the home club were confident would be run despite heavy rainfall.
As it turned out, Scunthorpe's track was waterlogged and the meeting was called off.
The day after Devils shelved their home meeting with Premier leaders Newcastle Diamonds before the northern team headed south.
Bowden said last night he was not confident tonight's meeting will go ahead and was making a decision on whether to risk going ahead early this morning.
He said: "I pumped the water off the track yesterday, went to the printers, then by the time I went back to the track, it was under water again.
"We could do with getting a meeting on, because I would estimate we lose over a £1,000 when one is called off.
"However, if we let Sheffield travel, then the meeting gets postponed after they arrive, that figure is going to double.
"Obviously, though, the last thing we want is fans turning out for the meeting for nothing. We'll just have to see how the weather goes and make an early decision.
"This weather has been appalling for June – but it's affecting teams all over the country, not just us."
If the meeting does go ahead, Devils will be seeking their third league win of the season.
They will be looking to carry on where they left off in their 51-39 victory over Leicester a fortnight ago.
They would be optimistic of their chances against a Sheffield side, who have lost all five away league matches so far this season.
The Tigers picked up an away point from a 48-42 defeat at Redcar last month, but have suffered double figure losses in their other away meetings at Rye House, Ipswich, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
Both teams expect to be at full strength with Sheffield being spearheaded by Czech Republic rider Josef Franc, Richard Hall and former Devil Ricky Wells.
At second string will be Chris Schramm and Australian Hugh Skidmore with former Trelawny rider Emiliano Sanchez and Joe Haines at reserve.
Bowden said: "We know Ricky Wells can ride well at our track, but he faces a tough task as he will be in direct opposition to our new American star Ryan Fisher.
"The races between those two should provide some interesting contests and Sheffield look to have a strong reserve in Emiliano Sanchez, who is in their bottom two even though he is only just short of a six-point average."
Devils: Ben Barker, James Holder, Cory Gathercole, Todd Kurtz, Ryan Fisher. Reserves: Nicki Glanz, Robert Ksiezak
Sheffield: Josef Franc, Hugh Skidmore, Chris Schramm, Richard Hall, Ricky Wells. Reserves: Emiliano Sanchez, Joe Haines