Saturday 29 June, 2013
STOKE Easy Rider Potters ended a run of four consecutive defeats gaining a 49-44 victory over the Buxton Hitmen in the National Trophy at Loomer Road on Saturday night.

The Hitmen did gain a point for not losing by more than six points a point they owe mainly due to number one Charles Wright who romped to a 21 point maximum, but it was the Potters who had strength in depth with Luke Chessell chalking up his best score of the season and we was supported well by Luke Priest (10+3) and guest Gareth Isherwood (10).

The Potters started well with maximum 5-1 heat advantages in two of the opening three heats to gain a 13-5 lead as Shaun Tedham and Lee Payne along with Lee Smart and Luke Priest got the better of their rivals before the Hitmen reduced the deficit with a 4-2 in heat four from Adam McKinna and Matt Williamson.

An exchange of 4-2 advantages saw the Potters maintain their six point lead after seven heats as they led 24-18 and the midway point of the meeting before Chessell and Payne gained a 5-1 in heat eight over Matt Williamson to open up a ten point lead after eight heats.

Buxton team manager Jack Lee brought in Charles Wright as the rider replacement ride in heat nine and then nominated Wright as a tactical ride and he duly delivered to give the Hitmen a 6-3 heat advantage to leave the Potters leading by seven points after nine heats.

A series of drawn heats saw the Potters maintain their lead but heat thirteen was a classic and the best seen at Loomer Road this season as Gareth Isherwood led Charles Wright for the four laps Wright constantly harassing the Potters guest before he managed to pass him in the final few metres to take the chequered flag ahead of Isherwood. Heat fourteen also produced a superb race between Adam McKinna and Potters skipper Luke Priest who was just unable to catch the Buxton racer.

The Hitmen did salvage a point though as they reduced the deficit at the end to five points with Wright and McKinna gaining a 4-2 over Priest and Chessell to give the Potters a 49-44 victory on the night.

Potters boss Malcolm Vasey commented “A win is a win but it does not mask the fact we’ve had two of the weaker teams in the National League here tonight and we’ve got to do something to improve our team. We must not run away with the idea that because we’ve gained a home win against Buxton that we’ve done very well because there was little to choose between the two teams and I feel we’ve got to look to strengthen the team and we will be giving that our attention. We’ve unfortunately got a vacancy because of Ben Reade’s injury and we need to address that as soon as we can. There were some good individual performances but they don’t mask the fact that it was against opposition very much like ourselves and we now have a busy week ahead with sort ourselves out and who knows what the next few days will bring.”

STOKE 49: Luke Chessell 11+1, Luke Priest 10+3, Gareth Isherwood 10, Lee Smart 8+2, Lee Payne 5+3, Shaun Tedham 5+2, Ben Reade R/R.
BUXTON 44: Charles Wright 21, Adam McKinna 12, Liam Carr 8, Matt Williamson 2, Tom Woolley 1, Robert Shuttleworth 0, Tony Atkin R/R.

STOKE skipper Luke Priest and number one Lee Smart travel to Mildenhall on Sunday afternoon to take their place in the National League Pairs at West Row, 4.30pm.

The Potters duo who are both ex-Mildenhall riders have been drawn in Group A of the competition and will come up against King’s Lynn Young Stars, local rivals Dudley and the Isle of Wight while Group B consists of Kent, Buxton, Coventry and holders and home club Mildenhall.