Tuesday 09 October, 2012
STOKE Easy Rider Potters put up a spirited display in the first leg of their National League play off semi final to trail by just a single point after going down to a narrow 44-43 defeat against the Dudley Heathens at Monmore Green on Tuesday night.

The Potters were led from the front by number one Ashley Birks as he dropped his only point in the final heat against Tom Perry and he received solid support from James Cockle, Ben Reade and Lee Geary as the Potters gained a little luck during proceedings that has been missing during the first part of the season.

The Heathens took the lead in heat two with a 4-2 from Darryl Ritchings and James White Williams over Lee Geary and Liam Rumsey leaving the Potters trailing 7-5 after two races.

Stoke struck back with a 4-2 of their own in heat five to level the scores as Birks took victory from Perry with Liam Carr taking third.

Dudley then opened up a seven point lead with a 4-2 from Joe Haines and Ritchings over Tony Atkin and then a 3-2 in heat seven as Ritchings took victory over Geary after Liam Carr was disqualified for falling and then Ashley Morris suffered an engine failure resulting in him retiring. The Heathens extended their lead in heat nine with a 5-1 maximum heat win from Perry and Dan Greenwood over Atkin leaving the Potters trailing 30-23 after nine heats.

The Heathens decided to go with one rider in heat ten leaving Haines as the sole Dudley rider but he came to grief resulting in James Cockle and Ben Reade picking up a 5-0 heat advantage to leave the Potters trailing by two points.

Perry got the better of Atkin in heat twelve and with Ritchings taking third the Heathens extended their lead to four points with just three heats remaining as the Potters trail 37-33.

Ashley Birks completes his fourth win of the night as he gets the better of Morris and Haines and the Potters take the lead in heat fourteen as Greenwood is disqualified for falling and then Ritchings suffers an engine failure while leading leaving just the Potters pairing of Reade and Geary to take a 5-0 heat advantage as the Potters lead 41-40 with one heat remaining.

In the final heat Birks made the gate but Perry overhauled the Potters number one with a superb ride to take victory from Birks with Morris taking third place for a 4-2 to the Heathens as the Potters lose out by a single point going down 44-43.

A smiling Easy Rider Potters team manager Malcolm Vasey said “I’m absolutely delighted with our performance tonight, we rode like a team that wanted this badly and while we had a little bit of fortune but the team worked extremely hard tonight. We now have to stay focussed tomorrow night and do our best to hit Dudley hard in the first part of the meeting. The job is no where near done and we will not be taking them lightly. The team and I would like to thank those supporters that travelled tonight knowing they were there really helped the team tonight and I really hope the supporters get behind the team at Loomer Road on Wednesday night.”

Dudley 44: Tom Perry 14, Ashley Morris 11, Darryl Ritchings 10+2, Joe Haines 6+1, Dan Greenwood 2+1, James White Williams 1, Byron Bekker R/R
Stoke 43: Ashley Birks 14, James Cockle 9, Ben Reade 7+3, Lee Geary 7+2, Tony Atkin 5, Liam Carr 1, Liam Rumsey 0

The two teams meet at Loomer Road in the second leg of this National League play off semi final at Loomer Road tonight (Wednesday) with the meeting starting at 7.30pm.