BIRMINGHAM’S INITIAL WIN
BIRMINGHAM secured their first victory of the season with a 49-41 win over Scunthorpe at Perry Barr.
Ryan Douglas was outstanding for the Scorpions with 17 points from six rides but he lacked consistent support as the Brummies produced a more solid performance.
Guest Kyle Howarth top-scored for the hosts with 12+1, and Adam Ellis picked up 11+1, with their 3-3 behind Douglas in Heat 15 ensuring the Scorpions would fall short of a league point.
Birmingham boss Laurence Rogers said: “That was just what we wanted and just what we needed. That win is such a big boost for the lads.
“It was a good, all-round team performance and our season has well and truly started here.”
Scunthorpe manager Dave Peet said: “It was a frustrating night for us. We were chasing it all the way through. We just didn’t have any consistent back up to Ryan Douglas, who was again brilliant.
“We just couldn’t get heat advantages to get back into the meeting, while we ran too many last places.
“Heat 14 was probably the race where a point slipped away from us, because I was expecting for us to maybe take a 4-2 from that, but instead Birmingham ended up getting a 4-2 from it. It’s a disappointing result.”
OXFORD came back from seven points down to record a 50-39 win over leaders Berwick in their home NDL opener.
Chargers skipper Jordan Jenkins scored a 15-point maximum with his side recovering from a 14-21 deficit to produce a strong second half of the meeting.
Nathan Stoneman scored 12+2 for the hosts with reserve Ace Pijper collecting 10+2 for the Bullets.
Oxford’s Ben Hopwood suffered a wrist injury, whilst Arran Butcher was also withdrawn with an ankle/foot injury.
BEN Barker makes his seasonal debut for Ipswich as the Witches open their Premiership campaign at home to Belle Vue tonight (Thursday).
Barker has come in for the Foxhall side as a replacement for Cameron Heeps after their disappointing League Cup campaign.
Meanwhile the Aces bid to build on a flying start to league competition after their huge win over Peterborough on Monday.
Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins said: “It’s our first Premiership meeting and the league season starts now.
We have done all our practice now and we need to go into it with confidence that we can start our campaign off with a win.
“We have made a change to the side, and we look forward to welcoming Ben back, someone we all know well at Ipswich, and we know what a good job he can do.
“We welcome back Starkey (Paul Starke) and Anders (Rowe), we really missed them last week, so we are delighted to have them back in the side, that strengthens us up.”
Aces star Charles Wright said: “Ipswich have had a rough start to the year, and we can relate to that, so we won’t be taking anything for granted on Thursday, especially at Foxhall.
“They could just as easily do to us what we did to Peterborough so all the boys will need to be on point, but we’re approaching this meeting as we did Monday’s.
“I think it will be an interesting evening. Obviously, they have made a change with Ben Barker to try and strengthen up, but they should still be very aware of what we’re capable of.”
SHEFFIELD kick off their Premiership campaign with the visit of reigning champions Peterborough tonight (Thursday).
The Panthers won twice at Owlerton last season but go into the meeting off the back of a big defeat at Belle Vue on Bank Holiday Monday.
However, Tigers boss Simon Stead is urging his side not to read too much into that result.
He said: “Peterborough are a very, very good line-up. They’re a solid outfit with a great team manager in Rob Lyon who I respect very much.
“It will be a tough test for us, we know that, but we just need to concentrate on what we can do.
“Concentrate on how we go about our business, try and improve on what we’ve done so far and just keep doing what we have been doing.”
Lyon said: “The issues we had on Monday were a combination of a few things really. “But we’ll see what happens. It’s a long season, and we’ve got to concentrate on what we do, and make sure we bounce back.”
THURSDAY MAY 5:
PREMIERSHIP: Ipswich v Belle Vue 7.30, King’s Lynn v Wolverhampton OFF, Sheffield v Peterborough 7.30
FRIDAY MAY 6:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Glasgow v Plymouth 7.30
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Armadale v Oxford 7.30, Belle Vue v Leicester 7.30
SATURDAY MAY 7:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Leicester v Oxford 7pm
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: Berwick v Belle Vue 7pm
SUNDAY MAY 8:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Newcastle v Glasgow 4pm