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Stoke 43 Heathens 47
5:08pm Sunday 22nd July 2012 in Sport
DUDLEY Heathens made it eight wins out eight in the National League this season with a terrific 47-43 victory in Saturday’s local derby at Stoke.
Heathens raced at Loomer Road without Adam Roynon and Ashley Morris due to Premier League commitments, although guest Steve Worrall proved a good stand-in for Roynon and won the decisive final race.
The Potters also suffered in their upper-order as Ashley Birks was forced to pull out due to illness after one ride, flying reserve Ben Reade working hard to cover with the Potters’ lower-order all having to take four rides as a result.
Heathens took the lead with a 5-1 from Worrall and Tom Perry in Heat 3, although early falls for Dan Greenwood and Byron Bekker prevented them from holding a clearer advantage.
The home side levelled with a 4-2 in Heat 8 when leader James White-Williams came down on the last bend as Reade challenged for the lead, but the Heathens hit back immediately through Bekker and Darryl Ritchings in Heat 9.
A 4-2 followed in Heat 11 to put Dudley seemingly in control, and a superb ride from Perry to pass Reade in the next race left them 39-33 up with three heats to go – but a nervous finale was in store.
Worrall fell in Heat 13 handing third place to Jack Kingston for a Stoke 4-2, and then Perry lost a race-win on the last bend of Heat 14 due to mechanical trouble, as Reade stole victory with the Heathens man making it home for second.
That left Stoke needing a 5-1 in the decider to draw and their hopes were raised when Perry looped on the start-line putting him out of the race – but Worrall became the first man to beat Simon Lambert since his recent return to the Potters, and the Heathens’ victory was secure.
Boss Will Pottinger said: “I’m delighted with the win. Nobody expected that here with us being without Adam and Ash, but every one of the riders did a superb job.
“It would have been nice to get four league points but I’m delighted to come away with three and remain unbeaten in the league.”
STOKE 43: Ben Reade 17+1, Simon Lambert 14, Tony Atkin 6+2, Ashley Birks 3, Jack Kingston 2+1, Adam Wrathall 1, Ross Walter 0.
DUDLEY 47: Steve Worrall 13+1, Tom Perry 12, Darryl Ritchings 8+2, Byron Bekker 7+2, Dan Greenwood 4+1, James White-Williams 3+1, Ashley Morris r/r.