Thursday August 29, 2019
CRADLEY co-owner Nigel Pearson hailed the opposition’s qualities as they were thumped 65-25 at Belle Vue.

Not only was it the biggest defeat of the season for the Heathens, but it was also the heaviest loss the club have suffered since being reformed in 2010.

But Pearson insists nobody connected with the former Dudley Wood club should dwell on the result.

“At the end of the day Belle Vue are a top quality outfit at this level and they’ve gone out there and proved that,” he said.

“In many ways they remind me of our title winning sides from both 2013 and 2014 and I expect them to be there-or-thereabouts when it matters most.

“That doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that it is a bitterly disappointing result for everyone involved with the Heathens and it really does hurt.

“We were at a disadvantage from the moment we entered the league so late on and we had to put a side together at the last minute while most other clubs had got deals sorted with riders behind the scenes.

“But we kept the Cradley name alive and that was important to us.

“We know it’s been a tough year for many reasons - but the season isn’t over yet.

“We have seen glimpses of what these riders can do when they put on the Heathens racejacket and it’s important everyone stands by them.

“We’re not out of the play-off race yet, we’re still in the cup - and we still may have a season farewell Golden Hammer to look forward to when we would look to invite some of the Belle Vue lads.”

Not one home rider experienced a tough evening in Manchester with Colts captain Kyle Bickley, who represented the Heathens in the 2018 National Trophy, storming to a 15-point maximum.

Former title winner Danny Phillips also reached double figures while talented teenager Jordan Palin secured another unbeaten night in Manchester.

Belle Vue were rampant from start to finish - and they were in total control as they registered 10 straight heat advantages from the off.

That was brought to an end when Jack Smith claimed the visitors’ only race win of the night as a tactical substitute - and while Cradley did finally get a result in their favour, they were denied a 5-1 maximum when reigning British Youth Champion Leon
Flint eventually came around Heathens skipper Max Clegg down the back straight on the last lap.

Even Smith was unable to make any further impact and the Heathens now must regroup ahead of Tuesday’s short trip to high-flying Midlands rivals Leicester (7.30).

BELLE VUE 65: Kyle Bickley 15, Jordan Palin 14+1, Leon Flint 9, Danny Phillips 8+2, Connor Bailey 7+1, Ben Rathbone 6+3, Ben Woodhull 6.
CRADLEY 25: Jack Smith 9, Max Clegg 7, Dan Halsey 3, Harry McGurk 3, Luke Harris 2, Sam Woolley 1, Tom Spencer R/R.

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