HITMEN 33 STOKE 57

Sunday July 03, 2016
Stoke Potters were in no mood for clemency as they took on Buxton in this Travel Plus National League encounter at D & P Raceway (Hi-Edge).

The home side already without their number one former British Under-19 champion Oliver Greenwood who was riding for his Premier League team Ipswich and their now-retired Skipper Jade Mudgway managed just 3 heat wins and one heat advantage, as they fell woefully short registering their second lowest total at home this year.

If it wasn’t for Ryan Blacklock the Hitmen could well have been well and truly embarrassed. The likeable Cumbrian registering two of those heat wins, the other in the re-run of the reserves race where Lee Geary flew from the gate to take a rare chequered flag. It was in the original staging of the race where Buxton’s injury jinx struck again Shelby Rutherford fell whilst leading aggravating a knee injury. The Aussie was advised to rest which will keep him out of the clash at Kent Kings tomorrow.

Make no mistake however, this was the Potters day, Ben Wilson lead like a true number 1 with a faultless 15-point maximum and there were triumphant returns for both Tony Atkin who scored 11 and Ben Hopwood who turned around his recent form to register an 8-point return. There was a strength in depth in the Stoke team that was sadly lacking in their rivals camp epitomised by a paid 10-point score from veteran reserve Paul Burnett.

Buxton team manager Jason Pipe struggled to find a positive in his post-match press conference, ‘I felt we were a heatleader short today. Imagine what a 10-point return could have done to our total. I said in my pre-match summary I thought we were up against it and being without Jade (Mudgway) and Ollie (Greenwood) I thought we might run them close without winning but didn’t expect to lose by this many. The biggest blow was losing another rider in Shelby we are now left with no alternative but to go to Kent with an unattached 3-pointer to cover him. It’s a pity because I felt he could have returned a much higher score as he has recently hit some form. I must mention Lee Geary who I felt was on the pace today and might have scored more had the referee seen his fall in Heat 8, when he was disqualified, differently.’

Buxton have moved to plug the hole in their Heatleader line-up by signing the experienced Lee Dicken. Dicken will join the Hitmen on loan from Sheffield and will join up with his new team mates at the next home meeting against Belle Vue Colts in a fortnight’s time.

‘Lee has come on board as a personal favour to me. He has kept his hand in doing amateur meetings and the odd practice at Scunthorpe and brings a wealth of experience with him. Buxton supporters might remember him as the father of last year’s team mascot Kean Dicken’ added Pipe.

BUXTON 33: Ryan Blacklock 12, Liam Carr 9, Lee Geary 5, David Speight 3+1, Ryan Burton 2+1, Shelby Rutherford 2, Ryan MacDonald (no.8) 0, Jade Mudgway r/r.

STOKE 57: Ben Wilson 15, Tony Atkin 11, Rob Shuttleworth 9+1, Ben Hopwood 8, Paul Burnett 6+4, Shaun Tedham 4, David Morgan 4.