Photo: by Ian Charles
BELLE VUE GO TO THE TOP
BELLE Vue took over at the top of the Premiership with a hard-fought 48-42 win over Ipswich in a match that went down to a last-heat decider.
Witches No.1 Jason Doyle was unbeaten from his first four rides, but Matej Zagar and captain Brady Kurtz were the heroes for he home side as they pulled off a 5-1.
Zagar scored 17 points from six rides, missing out only to Doyle in Heat 5, whilst Kurtz added 13+1. Doyle’s 13 for the Witches were backed up by Ben Barker with 10+1 at reserve as the visitors took a league point.
Kurtz said: “Doyley doesn’t miss a lot of starts in England, and going into Heat 15 myself and Matej knew that we needed a big result if we wanted the win.
“But all the boys pulled together and contributed to this result. This was a big night for us, and to put another three points on the board is a great feeling.
“We’ve proved we can have riders missing and pull off a big result, so hopefully when the whole team is back together again we can get some even bigger results!”
Witches boss Ritchie Hawkins said: “It’s not a bad result as a whole, although when you’re in it all meeting, leading for a time, it would have been good to capitalise on that and get the win. But a point at Belle Vue is certainly not a terrible result.
“Obviously going into Heat 15 Doyley was confident, and he was absolutely superb, but we also needed Batch (Troy Batchelor) to back him up, and it just didn’t happen for us.
“At this stage of the season we’re not badly placed without fully firing, so overall I’m pretty happy with where we are.”
WOLVERHAMPTON’S home fixture with Peterborough on Monday was abandoned after one attempted race due to track conditions.
The West Midlands had been hit by heavy rain over the weekend with the track unable to dry out properly throughout the course of the day.
Leon Flint came to grief in Heat 1 as all riders struggled to negotiate the first bend, and a decision to call a halt was quickly taken.
Wolves boss Peter Adams said: “We’d had a lot of rain here in the last 24 hours and the track hadn’t really dried out because there’s been no wind, no sun.
“We walked the track before the meeting and it looked a little bit difficult in one or two places, and the track guys did what they could with it.
“But as we saw in Heat 1 it wasn’t enough unfortunately. All four of them I think were in difficulties and it was disappointing, but I also think it was the right decision.”
PLYMOUTH look to further boost their play-off prospects when they host Birmingham at the Coliseum tonight (Tuesday).
The Gladiators are up in fourth place in the Championship with an impressive home record, and they will go for a seventh victory on their own track against the Brummies.
Chris Harris again stands in at No.1 for the injured Edward Kennett, whilst the visitors have Leon Flint replacing Josh Auty but welcome back James Shanes after a brief lay-off.
Brummies boss Laurence Rogers said: “My old friend Mark Phillips (Plymouth promoter) has got his riders producing the goods down there and it’s going to be a hard one for us.
“They’ve already got some top riders at that level and Bomber is down to guest for them on Tuesday as well.
“We need to get off to a good start; if we could do that and unsettle them a bit early on then who knows, we could come away with a league point if not more.”
The Gladiators have confirmed their policy of under-16s going free will continue for all remaining home fixtures this season, with over 50 children competing in last week’s running race.
*LIVE STREAMING: https://www.gladiatorslive.com
TUESDAY JUNE 7:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Plymouth v Birmingham 7pm
WEDNESDAY JUNE 8:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Birmingham v Edinburgh 7.30, Oxford v Newcastle 7.30, Poole v Leicester 7.30
THURSDAY JUNE 9:
PREMIERSHIP: King’s Lynn v Ipswich 7.30, Sheffield v Wolverhampton 7.30
FRIDAY JUNE 10:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Edinburgh v Newcastle 7.30, Redcar v Oxford 7.30, Scunthorpe v Glasgow 7.30