Monday August 21, 2017
CRADLEY skipper Tom Perry could not hide his disappointment despite salvaging a 43-43 draw from their crunch clash with Birmingham at Monmore Green.

The Motor Market Heathens looked set to have their play-off hopes dashed when they trailed by 10 points after nine races.

A number of costly mistakes and thrown away points left Will Pottinger’s side on the back foot before they rallied to pull level with three races remaining.

But they were unable to complete what would have been a remarkable comeback, with Perry and Danny Ayres not quite able to overhaul maximum man Liam Carr in a tense heat 15 decider.

And whilst they could be forgiven for being pleased with a draw given the circumstances, Perry conceded they were frustrated not to come out on top.

Said Perry: “We’re not really pleased, because we wanted the win but it was just one of those nights.

“We were 10 down at one point so I think we did well to pull it back, but I thought we might have had that extra push in the last couple.

“It wasn’t to be in the end, but at least we managed to avoid getting beat and we still have a chance after that.

“We just can’t afford to drop any more points for the rest of the year to have a chance to be in those play-offs.”

Perry scored a hard-fought 8+1 points and was unfortunate to shed a chain as he lined up a cutback on Carr in heat six.

Reserve Conor Dwyer was the Heathens’ hero, bagging paid 15 points on a hectic night at reserve.

He led home consecutive 5-1s in heats 11 and 12 to haul the Heathens level, holding off Jack Parkinson-Blackburn brilliantly with the help of Ayres in heat 11.

Ayres recovered from two exclusions in his opening two rides, the second which was controversial after a clash with Tom Bacon, to add paid seven points.

Richard Hall also fought through the pain barrier with a shoulder injury to hold off Bacon for a timely victory in the penultimate race.

Luke Harris added paid double figures to cap off a solid all-around team display which could well have led to a victory on another night.

They will be back in action as they host Belle Vue in a must-win encounter at Monmore Green next Monday.

CRADLEY 43: Conor Dwyer 14+1, Tom Perry 8+1, Richard Hall 8+1, Luke Harris 7+3, Danny Ayres 5+2, Paul Bowen 1, Sam Wright (no.8) 0, Joe Lawlor R/R.
BIRMINGHAM 43: Liam Carr 15, Tom Bacon 13, Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 7, Alex Spooner 4+1, Taylor Hampshire 3+1, Layne Cupitt 1, David Mason R/R.


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