Monday 07 May, 2012
INJURY hit Stoke Easy Rider Potters put up a valiant display against the Scunthorpe Saints going down to a narrow 47-42 defeat in the first leg of their Knock Out Cup tie against the Saints.

The Potters without Jaimie Pickard after his fall on Saturday night then suffered the loss of number one Ashley Birks who had to leave the stadium and go home unwell after the effects of a nasty fall at Loomer Road on Saturday and then suffering a further two falls yesterday while riding for Scunthorpe in the Premier League at Newcastle leaving the Potters really up against it. The Potters used rider replacement for Birks while junior Tommy Fenwick deputised for Pickard.

Things did not start well for the Potters as they lost a 5-0 in the opening heat to Tom Young and Jerran Hart after Richie Worrall had been disqualified by referee Barbara Horley for falling when it seemed that Young had taken Worrall down and then in the rerun Fenwick retired with an engine problem.

Stoke did strike back in two of the next three races with Ben Reade and Ross Walter combining for a 4-2 over Max Clegg and Dan Phillips and then in heat four Richie Worrall and Reade did the same to leave the Potters trailing 12-11 after the opening four heats.

The Saints extended their lead in heat six after Worrall was disqualified as the primary cause of the stoppage after Young and Ross Walter came down on the first turn. In the rerun Young and Jerran Hart gained maximum points over Walter to leave the Saints with a five point lead. The Saint continued to forge ahead with a 4-2 in heat eight from Tom Young who managed to get the better of Ben Reade who continued his fine form at reserve for the Potters with Clegg taking third to give Scunthorpe a 27-20 lead.

The Potters kept themselves in the hunt with drawn heats in the next four races Worrall taking victory in heat nine then spirited rides from Rhys Naylor in heat ten to grab a vital point to from Young to follow his partner home and then Tommy Fenwick grabbing a point in heat eleven and Ross Walter tasking third on the line to follow his partner home in heat twelve kept the Loomer Road outfit in the hunt.

The ride of the night was still to come though as reserve Ross Walter took the rider replacement ride and managed to overhaul Saints number one Jerran Hart to take the chequered flag for the first time in Potters colours with Richie Worrall taking third keeping brother Steve Worrall at bay for a 4-2 heat advantage to the Potters leaving the Potters trailing by just five points.

Former Stoke Spitfire Gary Irving took the flag in heat fourteen ahead of Reade with Naylor taking third for a drawn heat and Potters skipper Tony Atkin did a captain's job taking victory in heat fifteen ahead of Hart and Irving after Worrall had retired with a bike problem giving Scunthorpe a narrow 47-42 victory over the Potters with the second leg to come at Loomer Road on Sunday afternoon.

Easy Rider Potter team manager Malcolm Vasey said "We were fortunate to be able to borrow Tommy Fenwick after sadly Ashley Birks was taken severely ill in the meeting prior to our from injuries sustained over the weekend at Stoke on Saturday and Newcastle on Sunday wasn't able to ride and had to go home and I thought we were facing climbing Mount Everest and I think we were but somehow or other we managed to shin up it with a tremendous performance. I also thought a few decisions against Richie Worrall did not go our way the first I could understand from the position the referee is viewing the race but I feel she got it wrong the second I was a bit surprised with her excluding anybody in what was a first bend incident and yet in the very next race the same thing happened with a Scunthorpe rider who was at fault and all four riders were back for the restart so I would suggest there were some inconsistances. We were reaching personal bests in this meeting with Ross Walter having the best race of his short career beating class riders such as Jerran Hart, Steve Worrall and his partner Richie Worrall, it was a tall order to put him in the race and he responded superbly and Rhys Naylor too has been paid for six points today and Tommy Fenwick had a lot of bike problems early on but he did win us a vital point in heat eleven not forgetting Ben Reade who has again topped the scorecharts for us. RThe lads are riding out of their skins and it leaves us with a great chance of progressing through to the next round with the second leg to come at Loomer Road on Sunday."

Potters skipper Tony Atkin commented "That was one of the best if not the best performance I have seen Stoke do in either Premier League or National League in all the years I've been at Stoke or watched Stoke. We lost our number one Ash (Birks) and Jaimie (Pickard) top scoring riders leaving just myself, Richie and young Ben as established riders meaning basically we were a three man team and those kids that have come in were inspired today and I take my hat off too them because if anything after my first two rides I was disappointed with myself, I changed bikes and I got going and I am really pleased for the whole team because that is what it was tonight a real backs to the wall team performance and anyone that was disappointed with the team towards the end of last season if they'd have seen that team we had out today they would realise they have a team of fighters that don't know when they are beaten. You'd have bet your mortgage that Ross Walter would not have won heat thirteen against the likes of Hart, Steve Worrall and it was really great to see he is a one hundred per cent trier and for anyone rider to win heat thirteen it is a major fete and he'll be telling his grandchildren about that and Ben Reade is doing what we want to him and he is riding really well I'm really thrilled about the performance tonight. I know we did not win but if we'd had a little bit of luck we may well have done and it leaves us with a great chance of progressing into the semi finals."

SCUNTHORPE 47: Gary Irving 14+1, Jerran Hart 11+2, Tom Young 10+1, Steve Worrall 8, Max Clegg 4+1, Danny Phillips 0, Adam Wrathall r/r.

STOKE 42: Ben Reade 15, Tony Atkin 10+1, Richie Worrall 7, Ross Walter 6+1, Rhys Naylor 3+3, Tommy Fenwick 1+1, Ashley Birks r/r.