Cradley Heathens 48, Coventry Storm 40
CRADLEY Heathens got the season off to a winning start against Coventry Storm tonight.
The Heathens welcomed Coventry to Monmore Green in the first leg of the Travel Plus Trophy.
The home side won 10 of the 15 heats to claim at 48-40 victory.
Ashley Morris gave Cradley a great opening to proceeding by taking the first heat. This was followed by wins for Matt Williamson and Max Clegg, who just pipped Coventry's Ritchings on the line to give Heathens an imposing start.
Coventry pulled the scores closer thanks to a Sarjeant win in heat four and a 1-2 for the visitors in heat five - Crang and Nielson coming home in front.
The Storm then took the lead following a dramatic race in heat eight.
Firstly, Cradley's Nathan Greaves crashed out and was excluded from the re-run. That was followed in take two of the heat by teammate Danny Phillips suffering from engine failure.
It left the Coventry pair of Crang and Terry-Daley to come home filling the first to spots to make the score 23-24 to the visitors.
However, Cradley soon got back on top and never looked back after decisive races in heats 11 and 12 which saw the homeside score back-to-back five pointers.
Debutant captain Steve Worrell rounded off proceedings by taking the final heat to ensure his side maintained an eight point lead going into the second leg.
After Morris lost control of his bike and was disqualified from the re-run of the final heat, Worrell was left as the only Heathen rider. But, he led from the front to claim a good win to make sure heat 15's spoils were shared as the Coventry riders filled the runners-up placings.
Heathens: Ashley Morris (11), Nathan Greaves (1), Tom Perry (4+1), Max Clegg (9), Steve Worrall (11), Matt Williamson (7+2), Danny Phillips (5+1).
Coventry: Stefan Nielsen, Luke Crang, Darryl Ritchings, Dan Greenwood, James Sarjeant, Ryan Terry-Daley, Martin Knuckey.