Edinburgh Monarchs new boy Luke Ruddick has vowed to do everything he can to help the team to major silverware for the first time since 2015.
Melrose-born Ruddick joins fellow Scot William Lawson to form an all-tartan reserve pairing in the belief that they can provide the relevant scoring support to the top end of the team.
Ruddick, 22, thinks the jump from the National League to Monarchs’ Championship Division is the perfect career move for him.
“I think it is, I believe it is a good move for me and will further my experience,” he said. “Edinburgh are a very good team who are known to give people a chance.”
Ruddick says Monarchs boss John Campbell had to fight off stiff opposition from rivals before gaining his signature.
Said Ruddick: “I was actually supposed to be in a couple of other Championship teams. However I ended up with Edinburgh and I couldn’t be happier. Edinburgh are known to do well with regards to winning major silverware.”
With a new lower points limit, good reserves have become gold dust in the Championship, but Ruddick insists he and Lawson can clean up at the tail-end, which could pay big dividends over the course of the new season.
He declared: “I think the reserves will be important and it is up to William and myself to do a good job for the club and score the points required, and yes there is going to be a degree of pressure on us both to produce the goods. But I think we will succeed.”
The stigma that Armadale is a tricky track doesn’t bother Ruddick, who is confident he can conquer it on with some dedicated hard work, saying: “I think it will be good for me especially as I will racing on it every week.
“I have ridden it before in the past and I have always gone pretty well round it. Hopefully it will be a good home circuit for me every Friday.”
Monarchs haven’t relished their recent lack of silverware and it’s a situation they have sought to rectify with a new look squad carrying their colours. Ruddick is eager to play his part in sparking a Monarchs revival.
“I think Edinburgh have got a pretty strong squad,” said Ruddick. “And the whole team are capable of increasing their averages.
“We have also got a strong home advantage and I think it will take a good side to beat us at Armadale. The other teams on paper at least, look to be pretty even and I don’t think anyone is going to run away with the title.”
Ruddick says he is not unduly concerned about the step up to the Championship. “I’m not really looking at it from that point of view. I’m trying to focus on myself and to make sure I’m ready for the challenges to come.
“I have not set myself any goals. If I live up to my starting average that is all I can do. But it would be nice if I could improve upon it.”
Ruddick rode for Coventry Blaze in the National League last season. They got to the play-off semi-finals, losing out to Eastbourne Eagles.
Ruddick reflected: “It was a tricky year because we had to wait six weeks before contesting the play-off semi finals. It was hard, to be honest.
“There were spells when we were not riding at all which was frustrating. The National League is a lot harder than most folk imagine, it’s not that easy at all.”
Come February, Ruddick will start his preparation for his first spell with Monarchs and said: “I’m trying to get the best equipment I can find and will also be trying to get myself fit again for the new campaign. I can’t wait to get going.”
Monarchs have faith in Ruddick and Lawson as their reserves. They must deliver as their contribution could prove pivotal in the battle to claim a sixth league crown.
Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess said: “I believe Luke is a talented young rider and that’s why we signed him. I think we have two strong reserve riders.”