Saturday 20 October, 2018
STOKE chalked up their third successive win on the bounce as they defeated the Plymouth Devils 48-41 in the Travel Plus National League at Loomer Road on Saturday night.

A.R. Richards Potters skipper Max Clegg romped to his third maximum in three meetings leaving him unbeaten in 24-heats in Stoke colours and he received solid support from Paul Burnett who chipped in with paid 11-points and guest Anders Rowe.

Plymouth took the lead in the opening heat with a 4-2 from Ben Wilson and Sam Woolley over Rowe, but Stoke were quickly level with a 4-2 from Burnett and Joe Alcock to level the scores before the Potters went in front with a 4-2 from Clegg and Burnett over Richard Andrews with Stoke leading 13-11 and four heats.

The Devils pulled level once again as Andrews and Macauley Leek over Rowe, but the Potters returned the compliment with a 4-2 from Clegg and Alcock over Tom Woolley and followed this up with a further 4-2 from Burnett and Arran Butcher over Adam Sheppard, although Butcher led the race until the final turn before suffering a mechanical failure but still managing to get over the line third. Potters skipper Max Clegg said “Arran (Butcher) knows he won that race even though he didn’t mentally he won it and it’s the best I’ve seen Arran ride, he had aggression and rode really well and if he hadn’t had the mechanical issue he would have won his first heat in Stoke colours and he was fantastic to watch and have a smile on his face it was really good to see and he knows now he can do it he just needs to believe in himself as Joe Alcock is also starting to do and he again since he’s comeback into the side is smiling and that is really important and it’s nice to finish the season off as we are because it is giving everyone a good buzz around the place and everyone is smiling again and enjoying racing.”

Heat ten saw Tom Woolley touch the tapes and going off 15-metres and he managed to overhaul Butcher before the Potters youngster came back at Woolley attempting to go around the outside before falling and being disqualified. In the rerun Andrews made the start and was holding Rowe at bay before he suffered an engine failure allowing Rowe to pass and take the chequered flag ahead of Woolley resulting in a Potters 3-2 leaving the Potters leading 32-27. Clegg and Alcock extended the home sides lead with a 4-2 over former Potter Wilson to give the Potters a 7-point lead with four heats remaining.

Woolley took victory in the penultimate heat with Leek taking third Alcock splitting the Devils partnership before Clegg completed his maximum ahead of Andrews with Rowe taking third for a Potters 4-2 giving Stoke all three points and sending the Devils home to Devon empty handed.

Potters reserve Paul Burnett commented “The back end of the season has been really good for Stoke and we’ve won some meetings that people haven’t expected us to and gained a couple of points on the road also. I’ve started getting amongst the points after a slump in the middle of the season and it’s made a difference for the team as if the reserves are scoring well it helps the team at the top end and the slump I had where I was scoring two’s and three’s wasn’t any good and I’m pleased that I’m scoring well and that the team has started to win matches which is what the whole team want to do. Max (Clegg) is riding exceptionally well and looks unbeatable wherever he goes and it shows he has his confidence back and my partner at reserve Joe Alcock has also come back strongly and is riding well.”

STOKE 48: Max Clegg 18, Paul Burnett 9+2, Anders Rowe 8, Joe Alcock 6+1, Chris Widman 6, Arran Butcher 1, Rob Shuttleworth r/r.
PLYMOUTH 41: Ben Wilson 12, Tom Woolley 11+1, Richard Andrews 11+1, Adam Sheppard 4, Macauley Leek 2, Sam Woolley 1, Henry Atkins r/r.