STOKE 47 HEATHENS 43 (Agg: 90-90)

Saturday May 05, 2012
DUDLEY Heathens and Stoke shared the Staffordshire Cup after an eventful second leg at Loomer Road ended with the aggregate scores level.

Heathens worked hard to defend their first leg four-point advantage despite the mid-meeting loss of Byron Bekker who was involved in a heavy first-bend pile-up with Ashley Birks in Heat 10.

Bekker remained at the track but could not continue in the meeting and will miss Sunday’s KO Cup trip to Buxton as a precaution, with Heathens set to use the rider-replacement facility.

Stoke had their problems too with Jaimie Pickard crashing out in his first ride, but Richie Worrall was in unstoppable form and broke the National League track record, whilst reserve Ben Reade was a constant threat to Heathens.

Will Pottinger’s side suffered bad luck when Tom Perry ground to a halt whilst leading Heat 3, but the British Under-21 runner-up and Ashley Morris both gave consistent displays winning a couple of races apiece, and there was also an encouraging night for James White-Williams.

Heathens led by six points on aggregate with three heats to go, but the powerful Worrall/Birks combination got Stoke back into it with a 5-1 in Heat 13, and all results were still possible when Reade held the battling Darryl Ritchings at bay in the penultimate race.

Worrall completed a paid maximum in Heat 15 but Perry was able to split the Stoke combination, with Birks taking third ahead of Morris to leave the overall totals at 90-90.

STOKE 47: Ben Reade 14+3, Richie Worrall 14+1, Ashley Birks 10+1, Tony Atkin 6, Rhys Naylor 2+1, Ross Walter 1, Jaimie Pickard 0.

DUDLEY 43: Tom Perry 10, Ashley Morris 8, Tim Webster 7, James White-Williams 6+3, Darryl Ritchings 6, Byron Bekker 4+1, Dan Greenwood 2+1.

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