Date: Tuesday July 20, 2021
WOLVERHAMPTON moved to the top of the Premiership following their 52-38 win over Ipswich.
It was a fourth successive victory for the Monmore side who leapfrogged Peterborough on the back of their home defeat to Belle Vue, with a big crowd in attendance for the first meeting since restrictions were further eased.
Nick Morris showed fine form with 14 points from five rides for the hosts, with skipper Rory Schlein adding 12 and Sam Masters 9+3.
Meanwhile the Witches’ reserves impressed with Paul Starke collecting 10+1 and Drew Kemp 9+2, but they fell short of a league point.
Schlein said: “Ipswich kept us pretty honest in the first half of the meeting and then we just clicked into overdrive.
“We reeled off a couple of 5-1s and and we rounded the night off on a bit of a roll.
“We’re notoriously good in the second half at home but it was good for us three heat-leaders in myself, Sam and Nick to get stuck into the heat wins when the pressure was on.”
Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins said: “We looked good at the halfway stage and were doing really well.
“The reserves were banging points in, and it is a tough one because the top end were completely in the mix, they weren’t out of it, they looked like they could win races, but it wasn’t happening for them.
“However, if no-one is winning races in your top end and you don’t win one until Heat 15 then you are in for a tough night. It is disappointing, but you wouldn’t criticise anyone and it was an entertaining meeting.”
BELLE VUE ended Peterborough’s six-match winning run with a 52-38 triumph at the East of England Arena – their second away victory at the venue this season.
Dan Bewley broke the track record in Heat 5 as the Aces hit back from an early six-point deficit to secure all four league points.
Bewley (13+1) and Brady Kurtz (10) ensured the visitors pulled clear with a 5-1 in Heat 13 and they put the match completely beyond the hosts with another 5-1 in the next through Charles Wright and Jye Etheridge.
Skipper Steve Worrall notched 10+1, as the Aces operated rider-replacement for his brother Richie.
Chris Harris top-scored for the Panthers with nine as they were knocked off the top of the Premiership.
Aces manager Mark Lemon said: “Last week was a big wake-up call for us at home and I couldn’t have been more impressed with how the boys adapted and responded against Peterborough.
“Track conditions were quite heavy going early on and seemed to favour the inside gates, but as the meeting went on things really came together for us and the boys were ready to pounce.
“It was a big blow for us to lose Richie just hours before tapes up, but the rest showed a lot of resilience and dug deep, as they always do, to turn things around and they came away with the victory they deserved as well as all four league points.”
Panthers boss Rob Lyon said: “I thought it was going to be a tight meeting anyway, and I predicted we’d come out on top by a couple of points, but fair play to Belle Vue – they were the better team towards the end of the meeting.
“They certainly put it to us and were comfortable in the end, but we know the reasons why we’ve lost, just as we knew after the first home meeting of the season.”
PLYMOUTH will hand a debut to Jack Smith against his former club when they face Glasgow at the Coliseum tonight (Tuesday).
The 22-year-old comes in as the Gladiators’ Rising Star after previous signing Luke Ruddick asked to be released.
Club owner Mark Phillips said: “Luke has asked to stand down from the team and I’m delighted to get Jack in as a replacement.
“Jack has ridden at Plymouth previously and has excellent equipment, so he should boost our bottom-end scoring.”
Tigers boss Cami Brown said: “I think we have to be wary down there. Poole went there last week and only managed a draw, and we know how good a side Poole are. We have to have that in our minds.
“We’d been due to ride Plymouth at the start of the season, and it was called off. It will be tougher now because they’ve ridden a few times at home.
“We need to keep winning our home matches, where we have a lot of tough challenges ahead, and then I think we’ll need another couple of away wins to make the play-offs.”
KENT and Eastbourne race their KO Cup tie to a finish at Central Park tonight (Tuesday) with the Eagles holding a 26-point lead from the first leg.
The Kings bring in Kyle Howarth to guest for the injured Cameron Heeps, and continue with the rider-replacement facility for Tom Bacon.
The Eagles are at full strength, and boss Trevor Geer said: “I would be very, very disappointed if we don’t go through.
“Traditionally, Eastbourne always do well in the Cup, and it will be great to get a run going. We will have Drew Kemp back, and he goes well there.”
BIRMINGHAM have been handed a pleasant surprise with German ace Erik Riss declaring himself fit for Wednesday’s KO Cup clash with Redcar at Perry Barr.
There had been concerns Riss would miss the rest of the season with a serious shoulder injury, but he’s been back on a bike over the weekend and reported no adverse reaction.
Now he’s ready to line-up against his former club for the re-staging of the tie abandoned on opening night with the Bears holding a two-point lead.
Brummies boss Laurence Rogers said: “Having Erik back in the side is a real huge boost to us.
“A dislocation of the shoulder joints is a strange and complicated injury – but he’s received several pieces of medical advice and has been told no operation is required.
“With that in mind he was keen to get back on the bike at the first available opportunity and to be honest, it couldn’t have been timed much better than the Cup tie with Redcar.”
TUESDAY JULY 20:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Plymouth v Glasgow 7pm
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP 2nd leg: Kent v Eastbourne 6.30
WEDNESDAY JULY 21:
CHAMPIONSHIP KO CUP 2nd leg: Birmingham v Redcar 7.30, Poole v Plymouth 7.30
THURSDAY JULY 22:
PREMIERSHIP: King’s Lynn v Belle Vue 7.30, Sheffield v Peterborough 7.30