Wednesday March 25, 2015
CRADLEY experienced a dramatic beginning to life at Perry Barr as they slipped to a 46-44 defeat against Birmingham in their first home meeting at the venue.

The Motor Market Heathens wrapped up the Dan McCormick Memorial Trophy with a comfortable aggregate triumph – yet they could not prevent the Brummies from snatching a shock win on the night.

Having stormed to a 63-27 victory when the two sides met in the first leg last week, Will Pottinger’s side were faced with a tough test against a much-improved Birmingham side.

Despite a stunning 16 point haul from Ellis Perks down at reserve, the Heathens conceded costly 5-1s in heats 13 and 15 to suffer their first defeat since April last year.

Skipper Max Clegg, who added a solid 9+1 from the No.1 spot, admitted they were disappointed with the defeat but was keen to look at the bigger picture as they comfortable prevailed over two legs.

Said Clegg: “All the team gave it everything, we were just a bit unlucky. It wasn’t our night, they were the better team but when you look at it over two legs we’ve proved we are stronger by coming away with the trophy.

“It was an off-night for us, and I was a bit disappointed with myself especially in heats 13 and 15, but we all know what we are capable of and hopefully we’ve got that one out of the way before the National League starts.”

The Heathens made a slow start with Michael Neale and Arron Mogridge both dropping points with falls in heats two and four respectively – and they were dealt a further blow when Luke Harris was forced to withdraw with an ankle injury after a nasty clash with Zach Wajtknecht in heat six.

They nonetheless bounced back to build up a six point advantage entering the closing stages – yet Sam Chapman brilliantly fended off the flying Perks in a scintillating heat 12 before Adam Ellis and Tom Perry twice combined at the death.

Cradley will look to bounce back in a fortnight’s time when they welcome Coventry to Perry Barr on April 8 to kick-off their National League campaign.

CRADLEY 44: Ellis Perks 16, Max Clegg 9+1, Matt Williamson 7+2, Nathan Greaves 5, Michael Neale 3+2, Arron Mogridge 3, Luke Harris 1.

BIRMINGHAM 46: Adam Ellis 14+1, Tom Perry 12+1, Sam Chapman 7, Zach Wajtknecht 6+1, Adam Kirby 4, Alex Wilson 2+1, Harvie Banks 1+1.


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