Thursday October 06, 2016
CRADLEY have it all to do in Monday's National League play-off semi-final at Monmore Green after suffering a 53-37 first leg defeat at Birmingham.

The Motor Market Heathens came up against a powerful Brummies side at Perry Barr who have lost just one fixture in 2016.

While Ashley Morris, Max Clegg and Ben Hopwood scored 34 points between them, Bradley Andrews, Ben Basford, Joe Lawlor and No.8 Stephen Whitehouse managed a total of just three on a tough night for the youngsters.

Cradley found themselves 20 points down with just one heat remaining at Perry Barr, but a Morris, Clegg 5-1 reduced the deficit to 16 points.

Team boss Will Pottinger admits it was a difficult night for his side but says the tie isn't over if the Heathens can register some early heat advantages at home on Monday.

"Birmingham are enjoying a fantastic year and we knew it wasn't going to be easy against them," said Pottinger.

"We were really pleased overall with our heat leaders but the lower order of our team struggled to match their strength on the night.

"We have to stay positive though and it's never over until it's over.

"If we can hit a couple of 5-1's or 4-2's in the first few races on Monday then it's game on I guess.

"We know with Max and Ash we're capable of winning races but they just need that extra bit of support.

"There's still a glimmer of hope but it's going to take a massive whole team effort on Monday to pull it off."

BIRMINGHAM 53: Jack Smith 13+2, Jack Parkinson Blackburn 9+3, Tom Perry 9+1, Darryl Ritchings 8+2, Liam Carr 8, Tom Bacon 6+1, Danyon Hume R/R

CRADLEY 37: Ashley Morris 13+1, Max Clegg 12+1, Ben Hopwood 9, Bradley Andrews 2, Joe Lawlor 1, Ben Basford 0, Stephen Whitehouse (No.8) 0, Richard Andrews R/R.


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