Sunday 08 April, 2018
STOKE suffered a fourteen-point defeat as they were stung by the Coventry Bees’ 52-38 at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena on Sunday afternoon.

The Bees’ sharpness from the gate and all-round team strength showed put the Potters on the back foot with six of the Potters side sitting on the bike for the first time since October. Max Clegg top scored for the A.R. Richards Potters and he received solid support from skipper Tony Atkin and Rob Shuttleworth with Atkin admitting that his arms were being pulled from their sockets in his final ride because of the lack of track time due to the weather.

The meeting ran with drizzle continuing throughout the match and it was the Bees’ that went into a comfortable lead after leading 16-8 as Shuttleworth took the Potters first race win of the afternoon in heat four defeating former Potter Danny Phillips. Clegg followed suit in the following heat as he got the better of Jon Armstrong with Paul Burnett taking third for a Potters 4-2 heat advantage.

The Bees’ gained three 4-2 heat advantages mid-meeting to open up a twelve-point lead before Clegg took his second victory of the afternoon over Jamie Halder who led the Potters heat-leader before being past. A further couple of 4-2’s sealed victory for Coventry with the Potters taking a consolation 4-2 in the final race at Clegg had to use all his track craft to drive around the outside of Connor Mountain to prevent Mountain taking a full maximum with Shuttleworth taking third place.

SCB referee Tony Steele thanked both sets of riders for their performances in what were difficult conditions.

Potters boss Malcolm Vasey said “It was a tough meeting in difficult conditions with the track becoming more difficult as the meeting went on and of course our lads were rusty due to not being able to get any track time under their belts due to the weather. I thought we came back into the meeting a little as it went on and I thought we might have been able to sneak a point at one stage but it wasn’t to be. I feel we can do much better than our performance today the top three riders scores speak for themselves and the rest just need a match or two to get dialled in. We have to remember this was Coventry’s third meeting and they managed to have a few laps during the morning as they also hadn’t been able to get any practice in here. No excuses though it was the same for both teams we did our best and we just were not good enough today but it did show we can do better.”

Max Clegg commented “It was a good night for me, but the team struggled a little bit but the conditions weren’t ideal but it is the same for everyone. There were plenty of positives and you have to remember it’s our first meeting of the season so there’s a long way to go yet and I feel we can have a good season. This was my fourth meeting today and I’m just starting to get back into it now. Last night at Eastbourne in the British U-21’s was a good night for me and I am pleased things are starting to come together now for me.”

COVENTRY 52: Connor Mountain 14, Jon Armstrong 11, Danny Phillips 6+1, Ryan MacDonald 6+1, Jamie Halder 5+2, Luke Harris 5, Luke Ruddick 5.
STOKE 38: Max Clegg 13, Tony Atkin 9, Rob Shuttleworth 8, Adam Extance 3+1, Paul Burnett 3, William O’Keefe 2+1, Joe Alcock 0.