Rowntree ready for next step
Five successive top four league finishes for Southampton, but their last title came some seven years ago, the signs are there though that SL18 could again be their season. KO Cup success the highlight of the last campaign, but despite winning their first trophy in over 24 months there was some disappointment around the Scorpions camp, they’d missed out on the title despite winning 15 of their last 17 meetings and scoring a club record 68 points. There are no signs of the exhaustion that greeted the end of SL17, John Shuttler’s side refreshed and raring to go, especially Craig Rowntree who is looking to build on a promising SL17 where he won a GP having reached the series for the first time and picked up that illusive maiden league maximum. The 26 year old is now in his prime, is current average of 9.33 over two points higher than his start of season mark last year, but it seems it can only go higher in SL18, maximums now not a problem, he’s scored four from four in the pre-season meetings. Rowntree and 27 year old Paul Adams are now the two senior members of an all English youthful Scorpions squad, Adams lost out to Graham Hancock in heat 15 at Exeter this week, otherwise like his team mate he’d be unbeaten in the warm-ups, meetings in which Southampton have won all four of with relative ease. With no Vladimir Anyukov both George Farley and Shane Towler will have bigger roles in the Southampton side, and so far so good for the pair, Farley—third in the WU21 Final last year—has scored in double figures in three of the pre-season fixtures to date, while Towler is averaging 8.50 at second string.