STOKE put in a spirited display despite losing out to the Coventry Bees’ 48-42 in the Travel Plus National League at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena, Leicester yesterday afternoon, gaining a league point for their efforts.
The Potters went behind after the opening heat with a 4-2 from Jordan Jenkins and Jamie Halder over Tom Perry and Adam Extance who fell and had to withdraw from the meeting with no machinery. The two-point lead remained until heat seven with the Bees’ leading 23-19 after a 4-2 advantage from Jon Armstrong and Luke Harris over David Wallinger. although things may have been different had Potters skipper Max Clegg not been harshly excluded under the two minutes time allowance forcing him to go off a fifteen-metre handicap in which he duly finished second in heat four.
Coventry extended their lead with a 5-1 in heat eight from Luke Ruddick and Ryan MacDonald over lone Potter Paul Burnett to open up an eight-point lead for the home side.
Stoke gained a 4-2 in heat nine after guest Jenkins fell on the third bend of the final lap while leading resulting in the race being awarded to Wallinger with Burnett taking third place to reduce the Bees’ lead with the Potters trailing 33-27 after ten races. Coventry had other ideas and veteran racer Armstrong used his track craft to shepherd Luke Harris home keeping Tom Perry at bay resulting in a Bees’ 5-1 to open up a ten-point lead for the home side.
David Wallinger then gained victory in heat twelve with partner Burnett third for a Potters 4-2 advantage to reduce the deficit to eight points and this was then followed up with a maximum 5-1 heat advantage from Clegg and Perry over Armstrong leaving the Potters trailing 41-37 with two heats remaining. Hope of gaining a victory though evaporated in the penultimate heat as Harris and Halder gained a 5-1 after Wallinger had fallen attempting to pass the pairing on the opening lap.
The Potters did though seal a point as Clegg gained an impressive victory from Armstrong who held Perry at bay for second place.
Potters skipper Max Clegg said “We had a good week last week against Birmingham and I think all the boys are up after that meeting. It was a bit of a slow start but we came on strong in the latter part of the meeting with a 5-1 and a couple of 4-2 advantages and I’m pleased we got something out of the meeting. It was a tricky track and it wasn’t easy but I’m pleased with all the boys as they contributed to getting something here. Today we had three heat-leaders doing heat-leader jobs at the end of the day and it was good.”
COVENTRY 48: Jon Armstrong 13+1, Luke Ruddick 12, Luke Harris 11+1, Jamie Halder 5+3, Jordan Jenkins 5, Ryan MacDonald 2+1, Danny Phillips r/r
STOKE 42: Max Clegg 16, Tom Perry 9+1, David Wallinger 9+1, Paul Burnett 7+1, Arran Butcher 1+1, Adam Extance 0, Rob Shuttleworth r/r