Tuesday 03 April, 2012
STOKE Easy Rider Potters went down to a narrow four point defeat at Monmore Wood going down to a 47-43 defeat against the Dudley Heathens on Tuesday evening in the first leg of the Staffs Cup.

Richie Worrall and reserve Ben Reade put in sparkling displays for the Potters in a battling display against the west Midlands outfit who are tipped by many as one of the front runners for the league title this season.

The Heathens took the lead early on with a 4-2 from Darryl Ritchings and Dan Greenwood over Ben Reade and Dan Berwick who suffered electrical problems with his machinery all night long and the Heathens extended their lead in the following heat with maximum points from Tom Perry and Byron Bekker over Tony Atkin and Oliver Greenwood to leave the Potters trailing by six points.

The Easy Rider Potters struck back in heat four with a 5-1 from Richie Worrall and Reade over Dan Greenwood and Ashley Morris who fell to reduce the deficit to just two points with the scores 13-11 in favour of the Heathens after four heats.

Dudley opened up a six point advantage in the following race with maximum points from Perry and Bekker as the Potters suffered misfortune with Ashley Birks suffering an engine failure while leading the race and having lost Jaimie Pickard after he suffered a mechanical problem in the pits causing him to be disqualified under the two minutes times allowance Ben Reade coming in to replace him.

Stoke levelled the scores in heats seven and eight with Atkin and Greenwood combining for maximum points over Ritchings and then Pickard and Reade combining for a 4-2 in heat eight over James White Williams after Dan Greenwood had been disqualified for bringing down Pickard at the first running of the race while the Potters pairing were on for maximum points.

Dudley went back in front in heat twelve with a 4-2 from Perry and Greenwood over Tony Atkin while the Potters returned the compliment in heat thirteen as Worrall drove around the outside of Adam Roynon to take victory with Birks holding on for third place to level the scores at 39 all.

Two 4-2's in the final two races for the Heathens gained the home side a narrow four point victory to take into the second leg at Loomer Road a week on Saturday.

Easy Rider Potters top scorer Richie Worrall commented "I think we could possibly have won tonight had we not had a couple bits of misfortune, but all the lads have rode well tonight and we now just need to get Dan firing on all cylinders. Ben (Reade) had a goodnight and Tony did a good captain's job but Dudley are a very good team around hear and this is a difficult track to come to and win because there are so many different racing lines and anyone can pass anyone and I feel we put a good performance in tonight.All the lads are bonding well and there is a real good atmosphere around the place."

Potters team manager Malcolm Vasey said "Everyone did their best tonight and I feel we are going to be a force to be reckoned with this season. Everyone is tipping Dudley for the league title this year and we've come here on their track and put in an extremely good performance tonight. Ben (Reade) was tremendous tonight and put in his best performance in Stoke's colours and possibly his career best in league racing and Richie (Worrall) rode superbly defeating Adam Roynon in heat thirteen. Dan (Berwick) suffered electrical problems which hampered his performance tonight but beneath that is a very good speedway rider and we need to get Dan going and hopefully it will come in the next meeting. We believe we have a team who can challenge for honours this season."

Dudley 47: Adam Roynon 14, Tom Perry 12, Byron Bekker 8+3, Darryl Ritchings 6+1, Dan Greenwood 3, Ashley Morris 2, James White Williams 2

Stoke 43: Richie Worrall 12+1, Ben Reade 10+1, Tony Atkin 7+1, Ashley Birks 6, Oliver Greenwood 4+1, Jaimie Pickard 4+1, Dan Berwick 0