Cradley’s hopes take a blow
Cradley's National League play-off hopes were dealt a big blow last night as they were well beaten 56-34 by fellow top four hopefuls Kent.
The Motor Market Heathens were forced to track an understrength side with new signing Richard Hall unavailable until next Wednesday’s home clash with the Isle of Wight and Tyler Govier missing due to last minute work commitments, writes Ryan Guest.
And despite a valiant effort from top two Tom Perry and Danny Ayres, the Heathens’ lower order struggled to make any form of impact on a disappointing night.
Former Kent man Ayres piled the pressure on the hosts’ guest No.1 Ben Morley but despite trying every which way possible to work his way to the front, he was forced to settle for second and split the home duo.
Heat two saw further disappointment for the Heathens. 15-year-old Anders Rowe, who was lined-up for a team spot at Cradley for the 2017 season, rode a remarkable race from a 15 metre handicap to work his way past Conor Dwyer and then guest Heathens reserve Alex Spooner, who was standing in for Tyler Govier, to join his team-mate out front for a 5-1 as the visitors fell six behind.
Three heat wins out of four races from Perry, including one of the battles of the season at Central Park in heat six which saw the Heathens skipper eventually blast his way back around Morley on bends three and four after a number of exchanges between the pair, seemed to get the visitors back into contention at 19-17.
But the Heathens fell apart and were unable to compete with a dominant Kent side on their home circuit who held off the visitors after making the better starts.
Cradley conceded seven heat advantages out of the next eight races and the meeting was well put to bed by the time Ayres and Perry landed a final race 5-1 after cutting back under Ben Hopwood on the opening lap.
KENT 56: Anders Rowe 11+3, George Hunter 11+2, Ben Morley 11, Ben Hopwood 11, Jack Thomas 7, Bradley Andrews 5+4, Nathan Stoneman R/R.
CRADLEY 34: Tom Perry 14+1, Danny Ayres 12, Conor Dwyer 3, Alex Spooner 3, Joe Lawlor 2, Luke Harris 0, Dan Greenwood R/R.