Sunday 04 August, 2013
STOKE Easy Rider Potters hopes of making the National League play offs were severely dented as they suffered a 50-38 defeat at the hands of local rivals Dudley at Loomer Road on Sunday night.

The result leaves the Potters at the bottom of the National League table three points adrift of Kent and without a win in their five league outings this season.

Stoke were hit with the news that Luke Chessell had failed a fitness test earlier in the day meaning they had to cover Chessell's absence using the rider replacement facility.

The Easy Rider Potters went in front courtesy of an opening heat 3-2 heat advantage as Luke Priest took the chequered flag ahead of Dan Greenwood after Ashley Morris had been disqualified for a last lap fall and Benji Compton had been disqualified for bringing down Morris at the first attempt to run the race.

The Heathens hit back in heat three as Paul Starke and former Potter Gareth Isherwood combined for a 4-2 heat advantage over Priest to give the Heathens a one point lead. Lewis Blackbird took a comfortable win in heat four from Kyle Hughes and Lee Payne leaving the Potters trailing 11-12 after four heats.

The Potters regain the lead in heat five with a maximum 5-1 from Priest and Lee Smart after Morris shed a chain coming off the final turn while in second place to leave the Heathens trailing the Potters by 3 points after five heats.

Dudley's Blackbird and Starke took victories in the next two heats but the Potters riders packed the minor placings to maintain their slender three point lead with the Potters leading 22-19 after seven heats.

The Heathens were hit by the loss of number one Ashley Morris who withdrew from the meeting with a suspected broken wrist leaving the Heathens reserves to cover his absence for the remainder of the meeting.

After four drawn heats the Heathens gained a 3-2 heat advantage as Starke beat Benji Compton as only two riders finished after Shaun Tedham and Gareth Isherwood both fell reducing the Potters lead to two points as they edge the meeting 30-28 after ten heats.

Despite having their backs against the wall with the loss of Morris the Heathens gained a maximum 5-1 advantage in heat eleven as Greenwood and reserve Nathan Greaves took the honours ahead of Hughes to the delight of the Heathens supporters to leave the Potters trailing 31-33 after eleven heats. The Heathens extended their lead with a further 4-2 in heat 12 from Starke and Greaves over Smart to leave the Potters trailing by four points after twelve heats.

Dudley sealed victory in the penultimate heat with a 5-1 from Greaves and Geary over Priest who had to push home after suffering an engine failure while in second place on the last lap to leave the Potters trailing 37-45 going into the final heat.

The Heathens secured all four points as Blackbird and Starke completed their maximums gaining a 5-1 in the final heat over Hughes and Smart who retired from the race.

Easy Rider Potters team manager Malcolm Vasey said “All credit to Dudley for a tremendous backs to the wall effort when they had injuries and other problem as well as two matches in a day and they thoroughly deserved their victory tonight. As for us well that was a very disappointing performance from us and there is no getting away from that.”

STOKE 38: Luke Priest 10+1, Kyle Hughes 8, Lee Payne 7+2, Lee Smart 6+1, Benji Compton 4+2, Shaun Tedham 3+1, Luke Chessell R/R.
DUDLEY 50: Lewis Blackbird 15, Paul Starke 14+1, Nathan Greaves 7+2, Dan Greenwood 7, Lee Geary 5+1, Ashley Morris 1, Gareth Isherwood 1.