Climb up ladder will be little consolation for injury-hit Devils
Plymouth Devils are set to finish higher up the Premier League this year – with a worst record than last season.
In 2012, the team won eight meetings and drew one at home, but they ended the year by losing all 12 away meetings and finished bottom of the league.
This season, Devils are set to finish 11th – or third-bottom – having so far only won five of their home meetings and losing the other six.
They have the chance to improve those statistics tomorrow, when they meet high-flying Newcastle Diamonds at St Boniface Arena in their final meeting of the season.
The key to their improved position in the Premier is Plymouth's away form. In meetings away from St Boniface this season, they won two and drew the other one.
Devils cannot improve on their present league position – but neither can they be caught by the team below them, Sheffield Tigers, who have completed their fixtures.
Team manager Lee Trigger said he was pleased with the way his team had improved their away record.
Plymouth's Achilles heel has been their lack of ability to win points away from home. But Trigger said the team needed to tighten up on their home results. He said: "We're going to finish third-bottom, which is an improvement on last season, although it's not the sort of improvement I wanted us to make.
"We put together a team I thought could do a good job away from home, as well as at St Boniface Arena.
"It turns out, however, that while we did better away from home, we didn't do as well as we could at St Boniface.
"Obviously, our home form and how to improve it, will be something we will be talking about during the winter."
Trigger said that some of the team's riders had not worked out as expected at the beginning of the season. Plymouth had also suffered because of a crop of injuries which ruined any chance of them reaching the post-season play-offs.
Number one Ty Proctor and influential skipper Cory Gathercole have proved hard to replace. Trigger admitted: "We've had to bring in guest riders and, while they've done their best, it's not the same. And I'm not pointing any fingers, but some of the riders we put in the team earlier in the season didn't do as well as we thought they would.
"We had injuries at the wrong time, as well. I thought we were going to be contenders for the top six and the play-offs, but things didn't turn out as we'd hoped."
The Premier League play-offs get under way for Somerset Rebels this week with back-to-back matches in the semi-final group stages against Redcar Bears. The Rebels travel to South Tees Motorsport Park tonight before the two sides reconvene at Oaktree Arena tomorrow evening.