Saturday 01 September, 2018
STOKE put in their best performance of the season to shock play-off contenders Birmingham as the Potters gained their first win since June defeating the Brummies’ 47-42 in the Travel Plus National League at Loomer road on Saturday night.

Double figure scores from Connor Coles and Max Clegg paved the way for victory with Tom Perry and Paul Burnett backing up the top two admirably.

Birmingham went in front in heat one with a 4-2 from Tom Bacon and Josh Embleton over Perry, Stoke then gained a 5-1 in the following race with a 5-1 from Burnett and Arran Butcher over Embleton before the Brummies’ struck back to level the scores with a 4-2 from Leon Flint and Jon Armstrong over Coles with the Potters returning the compliment in the following race from Clegg and Burnett over Danny Ayres to give the Potters a 13-11 lead after four races.

A further 4-2 saw the home side edge further in front from Coles and Burnet over Bacon before a series of drawn heats developed as the Potters maintained their four point advantage which was then extended in heat nine as Coles and Ayres battled for the lead coming out of the second turn Ayres dived up the inside of Coles only for Ayres to pull his cut out resulting in the engine stopping and Ayres getting off the bike extremely upset, Butcher then fell resulting in the race being awarded a 3-2 to the Potters with the Brummies’ trailing 29-24.

Heat thirteen saw Birmingham edge closer to the Potters with a 4-2 advantage from Bacon and Ayres over Perry, despite Ayres losing a chain on the run in to the chequered flag while challenging Perry, but it was the Potters that effectively sealed victory in the penultimate race with a 4-2 from Coles and Burnett over Flint to leave the visitors needing a 5-0 for a draw.

Clegg made no mistake in the final race as he took victory from Bacon and Ayres to seriously damage the hopes of Birmingham making the play-offs.

Potters skipper Clegg said “It was a battling performance from everyone in the team tonight with everybody chipping in with points. We were competitive and showed what we can do against a very good Birmingham side and it was really pleasing to get a win under our belts tonight and send our supporters home with a smile on their faces. In the past couple of weeks, we just have not provided enough race winners and tonight it made the difference gaining nine out of the fifteen races and that has made a huge difference to us tonight and it was a great boost for the side seeing Paul (Burnett) and Arran (Butcher) gain the 5-1 in heat two and it will give them a lot of confidence.”

STOKE 47: Connor Coles 14, Max Clegg 12, Tom Perry 9, Paul Burnett 7+1, Adam Extance 3+1, Arran Butcher 2+1, David Wallinger r/r.
BIRMINGHAM 42: Tom Bacon 12, Jon Armstrong 9+1, Leon Flint 8+1, Danny Ayres 7+1, Josh Embleton 4+2, David Holt 2, Callum Walker r/r.