Tuesday September 03, 2019
CRADLEY’S play-off hopes hang in the balance after a 57-33 derby defeat at Leicester.

The Anchor Logistics Heathens put up a brave fight against the joint league leaders early on.

But the hosts kicked on to overpower the Heathens leaving them four points outside the play-off places with just two fixtures remaining.

Cradley opened with a heat advantage with Luke Harris picking up a comfortable third place while captain Max Clegg held off some intense pressure from 2015 team-mate Ellis Perks.

But the hosts responded instantly as inexperienced reserve pairing James Chattin and Sam Woolley, who were both late call-ups to the fixture, conceded a 5-1.

Jack Smith made an encouraging start in the third but was passed by Joe Thompson down the back straight before crashing out on bend four.

Danny Halsey led a 4-2 courtesy of a brilliant charge around home skipper Danyon Hume down the back straight of the fourth before the Heathens pulled level when Clegg made another lighting getaway while Harris produced an impressive, brave blast around Thompson on the entry to the final lap.

Halsey made a blistering start to the sixth to get ahead of home No.1 Perks, but the Leicester man eventually worked his way to the front to lead the first of three straight 4-2s as they re-established their six-point lead.

That enabled team boss Will Pottinger to nominate Clegg as a tactical substitute - but he eventually had to settle for second place after being punished with a 15-metre handicap for jumping the start twice.

Leicester’s Hume was the next rider to start 15-metres back in Heat 11 and forced an error from Harris on lap three who slid-off whilst in second on what would’ve been an important 5-1.

The hosts rounded things off in style with four more straight advantages to extend their winning margin by an extra 14-points. with Smith and Halsey nursing knocks ahead of Friday’s trip to Plymouth (7.15).

Captain Clegg said: “We did alright in the first part of the meeting but we couldn’t keep it going unfortunately.

“A few of the boys had a few falls and Leicester grew stronger as the meeting went on.

“Of course we’re disappointed but like Belle Vue, Leicester are a strong team.

“We’ve still got a couple of meetings left and we need to give it our best to try and get as many league points as we can.”

LEICESTER 57: Ellis Perks 13+1, Joe Thompson 12+1, Danyon Hume 11, Ryan Terry-Daley 9+1, Josh Embleton 7+2, Luke Priest 5+2, Luke Ruddick r/r
CRADLEY 33: Max Clegg 14, Luke Harris 6+1, Dan Halsey 6+1, James Chatin 3, Sam Woolley 2, Jack Smith 2, Tom Spencer r/r

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