Monday June 03, 2019
CRADLEY suffered their first defeat of the season as Belle Vue Colts raced to a 48-42 victory at Monmore.

Teenage sensation Jordan Palin proved unstoppable for the visitors with a 15-point maximum, and the Heathens’ upper order were not quite able to compensate.

They could still have snatched a draw in the finale, but former Cradley rider Kyle Bickley ended the unbeaten run of Max Clegg, with team-mate Leon Flint adding the insurance of third place.

After three opening shared races, the Colts made the first breakthrough with a 5-1 in Heat 4 as the impressive Palin combined with Bickley to edge out debutant Jack Smith.

Heathens worked hard to bring the match back to all-square with Clegg reeling in Bickley to take Heat 6, but a late pass on Tom Spencer by Arran Butcher in the next put the Colts back ahead.

And a further 4-2 in Heat 8 saw them extend their lead to four points, with Ben Woodhull recovering from an early clash with Harry McGurk to snatch third spot on the line from Lewis Whitmore.

Clegg again came from the back to superbly go round Danny Phillips in Heat 10, and Smith notched his first win in Heathens colours up against Leon Flint in the next, leaving the home side two points down with four races to go.

The home side gained a stroke of fortune in Heat 12 when Phillips came down whilst holding a safe third place, but Smith was squeezed out of the first clash of the big guns and eventually fell himself, as Clegg overhauled Flint for his fourth win.

And as Palin romped to win number five in Heat 14, disaster struck for the Heathens as Luke Harris straightened on the first bend of lap two and hit the fence, handing third place to Arran Butcher and giving the Colts a four-point lead to defend – a mission which Bickley ensured they accomplished.

Clegg said: “It was a very hard night, and we threw a lot of points away. I feel like we should have definitely got a win, but we all need to stop throwing those points away.

“Maybe it’s inexperience or lack of riding, and it’s not ideal for people who are only doing one meeting every couple of weeks, but it’s all a learning curve.

“I had a fairly decent night, but I couldn’t get through in Heat 15 so I didn’t get a max.”

CRADLEY 42: Max Clegg 14, Dan Halsey 9, Jack Smith 6, Tom Spencer 5, Harry McGurk 4+2, Luke Harris 3+2, Lewis Whitmore 1.
BELLE VUE 48: Jordan Palin 15, Kyle Bickley 11+2, Leon Flint 9, Danny Phillips 8, Ben Woodhull 3+2, Arran Butcher 2, Ben Rathbone 0.

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