Max Clegg’s heroics in vain as Cradley Heathens crash
An unstoppable performance from skipper Max Clegg wasn’t enough to stop Cradley falling to a second straight home defeat.
Anchor Logistics Heathens went down 51-39 to Midland rivals Leicester despite Clegg easing to a stunning 18-point maximum.
He was part of Cradley’s only two heat advantages on another bitterly disappointing display with Danny Halsey the hosts’ only other race winner.
The Lion Cubs may have been without three of their regular riders, but a smart choice of guests in former Heathens Tom Perry and Joe Lawlor added to a solid all-round display from the East Midlanders.
The visitors took the lead as early as heat two, albeit in fortunate circumstances. Heathens youngster Harry McGurk shot from last to second down the back straight, but as he set his sights on Dan Thompson out front, the 15-year-old suffered a puncture, gifting the visitors a 5-1.
It looked as though Heathens were going to respond instantly as they made the best gates in heat three, but Lawlor stormed under the home duo of Luke Harris and Danny Halsey before the latter came under some late pressure from Dan Thompson.
Cradley fell further behind in the fourth but the damage would have been worse had it not been for a smart move from Jack Smith who was able to get by Leicester skipper Danyon Hume off bend two.
Halsey and Harris again demonstrated quick reactions in the fifth as they outgated their opponents, but Perry worked his way past Harris before eventually getting the better of a thrilling battle with Halsey.
Six points down after six, Heathens used the tactical substitution available – and it worked to perfection. Clegg came in and when partner Smith joined him out front, Heathens gained their first heat advantage of the night to move to within two.
Sadly their joy would be short-lived as the visitors took control of the fixture with back-to-back 5-1s of their own, the second of which was gifted to the Lion Cubs when Halsey fell while in pursuit of Leicester skipper Hume and the visitors never looked back.