CRADLEY 46 HITMEN 42

Monday June 13, 2016
It was a case of so close yet so far the Buxton at Monmore green. Already facing an uphill struggle after failing to take a lead in the first leg of this National League Knockout Cup Quarter-final they began well and by heat 4 they were 8 points up.

The Hitmen went into the match without skipper Jade Mudgway, their number one Oliver Greenwood and influential Cumbrian Ryan Blacklock. NL rules only allowed Buxton to re-place Greenwood and Mudgway and they were forced to include three-pointer Chris Hay in only his second speedway meeting in the main body of the team. Guests Nathan Greaves and Ellis Perks proved able replacements and the team pulled together in what was one of the best way performances of this season so far.

Reserve Lee Geary scored his highest score since joining the club with 8+2 bonus points Team manager Jason Pipe was left wondering what might have been.

‘It was a case of close but not quite but I'm very proud of the boys this evening even Chris Hay having to join the main body of the team provided two points towards the overall score. This match however was lost in the first leg at the D and P raceway when we failed to post any sort of lead.’

Buxton currently bottom of the National League nearly pulled off the result of the season.

Pipe continued ‘Some may say Cradley had some bad luck out there this evening but we had our own bad luck with twice Shelby Rutherford finding himself with nowhere to go when riders in front of him locked up resulting in him being disqualified, also a guest Ellis Perks experienced a few mechanical problems. The turning point of the match was Heat 8 when Cradley Reserve James Purchase caught Chris Hay on the line.’

Two maximum Heat wins in Heats 14 and 15 gave the Heathens victory. The final heat being the only time Cradley lead all night.

Pipe finished with an update on injuries ‘We have quite a few injury worries at the moment Stevie (Jones) will be out long term, Jade Mudgway is still experiencing the after-effects of his accident at Eastbourne and we’re not sure how serious Ryan Blacklock’s knee injury is. I do think we have some sort of platform to build on here tonight. I would like to wish Cradley all the best in the next round of the knockout cup.’

Pipe now faces the daunting task of putting together a team for Saturday’s National League encounter with the Stoke Potters at Loomer Road Stoke ‘I'm not sure what sort of team I will be able to put out on Saturday but I'm working hard behind-the-scenes to attract riders to the club both temporary and permanent’

CRADLEY 46: Max Clegg 15, Ben Basford 9, Luke Chessell 8, James Purchase 7+2, Ashley Morris 7+1, Layne Cupitt 0, Jack Kingston R/R.

BUXTON 42: Nathan Greaves 11, Ellis Perks 9+1, Lee Geary 8+2, Ryan Burton 7+1, Shelby Rutherford 5+1, Chris Hay 2, Ryan Blacklock R/R.

Cradley win 90-86 on aggregate.