Captain fantastic Ashley Morris gave a Monmore Green masterclass to lead Dudley to a 13-point advantage in their National League play-off final first leg.
The local youngster struck a magnificent 15-point maximum as the Heathens beat King’s Lynn 53-40 in a scintillating clash. Yet their title hopes are on a knife-edge as they travel to Saddlebow Road – scene of last year’s heartbreak loss to Mildenhall – for the decisive second leg tonight.
They have their skipper to thank for the advantage after he stormed to a memorable maximum.
After seeing partner Lewis Blackbird disqualified following a fall, Morris fought from the back to hunt down Young Stars ace Lewis Kerr and take a sensational heat 15 triumph.
It was Morris’ second great battle with the determined Kerr after the duo fought out a classic heat nine which also saw the Heathens man prevail.
The 19-year-old ended the night unbeaten, much to the delight of a passionate home crowd.
Although Morris enjoyed a night to remember, he received strong support throughout the side.
Prior to his disappointing heat 15 fall, Lewis Blackbird provided a strong performance from the No.1 position – adding three classy race wins to end with double figures.
And Paul Starke fought hard for his eight points, holding on for an important point in heat 13 despite losing his steel shoe.
Dan Greenwood bounced back from a disqualification to notch a solid score and combine with Blackbird for an important 5-1 in his final outing.
Youngster Max Clegg also scored in every ride – taking advantage of a tremendous battle between Gareth Isherwood and Jake Knight in heat 14 to take victory.
The gutsy Isherwood was involved in two of Heathens’ three maximums – and although he ran two last places he also took two important wins.
Young reserve Nathan Greaves also made a useful contribution despite ending his night with two crashes as the home side put in a strong all-around showing.
However, four falls for Heathens riders means they will undoubtedly be disappointed not to have a greater advantage – yet they still travel to King’s Lynn tonight with a good chance of taking an historic National League title.