Friday 12 July, 2019
STOKE booked their place in the National League KO Cup semi-finals with a 92-87 aggregate victory over Plymouth at the Coliseum on Friday night despite the Gladiators taking a 48-42 victory on the night.

The Potters will now face Midlands rivals Leicester Lion Cubs over two legs on dates to be arranged.

Stoke went behind early on with Ben Wilson and Adam Extance gaining a 5-1 in the opening heat, but the four-point deficit was reduced a couple of heats later in heat three as Joe Lawlor and Luke Priest gained a 4-2 in the early exchanges of this quarter final second leg clash. Stoke riders took victories in the next three races, but unfortunately their partners were not in scoring positions and have six heat the Gladiators led 19-17 with the Potters still maintaining a 9-point lead on aggregate.

The Potters drew level in heat seven as Lawlor and Priest gained their second 4-2 of the night, but the home side gained a huge mid-meeting 5-1 from Extance and Jamie Bursill over Joe Alcock to give the Gladiators a 26-22 lead with the Potters leading on aggregate 72-65.

A series of drawn races kept the Potters aggregate lead at 7-points on aggregate, but in heat twelves Joe Lawlor was leading until former Potter and Plymouth debutant Luke Chessell fell on the third lap causing the race to be stopped, resulting in Chessell being disqualified and the race awarded to Lawlor with Corban Pavitt in second place for a Stoke 5-1 advantage drawing the scores level at 36-36 with three races remaining and the Potters leading 86-75 on aggregate.

Tom Perry took victory in heat thirteen with the Gladiators packing in behind for a drawn heat, but Perry’s victory is a significant one as the Potters confirmed their place in the semi-finals being 11-points up on aggregate with two heats remaining.

The Gladiators went back in front on the night with a 4-2 from Richard Andrews and Adam Sheppard over Luke Priest after Joe Alcock had been disqualified to give the home side a 43-41 lead going into the final race.

The Gladiators finished on a high with a 5-1 in the final heat to gain victory on the night, but it was the Potters who go through to the semi-finals.

Potters team manager Adam Isherwood commented “I’m delighted with our performance tonight; we came here with the main objective to win the meeting on aggregate and we did that and it is a case of mission accomplished for us. All the lads chipped in with vitals points and we kept it tight and at one point there was a chance we could have won the meeting but we are more than happy with the result tonight. Joe Lawlor was excellent for us tonight and Jason Edwards our guest and Tom Perry also were brilliant as well winning some very important races and I’m pleased for all the lads as everyone put in a shift it was a real team effort. Now it’s onto the National League Fours at Loomer Road on Saturday night.”

PLYMOUTH 48: Ben Wilson 12, David Wallinger 10+2, Richard Andrews 9, Adam Extance 7+3, Adam Sheppard 5+1, Jamie Bursill 4+2, Luke Chessell 1+1
STOKE 42: Joe Lawlor 13, Jason Edwards 9, Tom Perry 9, Joe Alcock 4+1, Luke Priest 4, Corban Pavitt 3+2, William O’Keefe 0
Stoke win 92-87 on aggregate