Saturday 21 April, 2018
STOKE crashed to a disappointing 57-33 defeat to Birmingham in their first fixture of the season at Loomer Road.

It was always going to be a tough task for the A.R Richards Potters against a strong looking Birmingham side.

But the hosts were only able to win just three races before the visitors cruised to victory with five 5-1s at the end of the meeting.

Captain Tony Atkin said: "It was very disappointing don't get me wrong.

"I think we showed that we're lacking match practice and I think we were unfortunate that our first home meeting of the season was against Birmingham.

"They'll probably be our hardest fixture of the season with the team they've got and they have got a pretty good record here at Stoke.

"But that's no excuse really; it was a local derby and we still should have performed better than what we did.

"With myself, Max (Clegg) and Rob (Shuttleworth), you kind of know what you're going to get from us three.

"But even we could've done a little bit more here and there tonight.

"Paul (Burnett) will consistently give you four or five points as a minimum really at Stoke at No.2 and I think Adam Extance will improve once he gets a few more meetings under his belt because he's been away for quite a while.

"As for the youngsters at reserve (William O'Keefe and Joe Alcock) I hope they're given a bit of time to show a bit of improvement because that's what the National League is all about.

"But we'll learn as a group and move onto the next one."

The Potters travel to Mildenhall in the Travel Plus National League next Saturday (April 28) before hosting Belle Vue Colts at Loomer Road on Saturday, May 5 (7pm).

STOKE 33: Max Clegg 8, Tony Atkin 8, Paul Burnett 5+2, Rob Shuttleworth 5, William O’Keefe 3+1, Adam Extance 3+1, Joe Alcock 1.
BIRMINGHAM 57: Mitchell Davey 15, Tom Bacon 13+2, Leon Flint 13+2, Jordan Jenkins 8+1, Callum Walker 4+1, Layne Cupitt 3+1, Arran Butcher 1.