STOKE SPEEDWAY – ON WINNING FORM
STOKE will take an 11-point lead into the second leg of this National League KO Cup quarter-final after beating the Plymouth Gladiators 50-39 at Loomer Road on Saturday night.
The Potters started well and quickly opened up a 6-point lead in the early heats with an opening heat 4-2 and then a 5-1 from Joe Lawlor and Luke Priest over Richard Andrews who attempted everything to get past Priest.
Stoke continued to pile on the pressure with a further two 4-2 advantages from Lawlor and Priest and the Tom Perry and Shelby Rutherford combination to lead 26-16 after six heats.
The Gladiators then gained a 5-0 after firstly Joe Alcock had fallen and retired from the race and then Rutherford fell resulting in the race being stopped, Rutherford being disqualified resulting in a win for former Potter Adam Extance and Jamie Bursill reducing the Potters lead to just five points.
Stoke gained a 4-2 in the following race from Lawlor and Priest over Gladiators guest Anders Rowe to give the Potters a 30-23 lead after nine races.
Potters supporters held their breath as skipper Perry fell on the third turn while trying to go around visiting number one Ben Wilson, Perry staying down for a number of minutes before getting up and gingerly walked back to the pits having been winded and in some considerable pain. Potters guest Jason Edwards stormed to a comfortable victory for a drawn heat, keeping the Potters 7-points to the good.
Edwards and Perry stormed to victory in the final heat for a 5-1 over Rowe and Extance to give the home side their third successive home win.
Potters heat-leader Joe Lawlor said “It was a good night for us tonight, although we were hoping to take a bigger lead down to the Coliseum on Friday night for the second leg, but there is no reason we should not go down there and beat them around their home circuit. We are all improving and things are starting to come together for us and I feel we can do a job down there. We’ve got a team full of triers and win or lose as long as we all put in one hundred per cent effort and commitment then no one can ask anymore, but we want to win. Jason Edwards did a great job for us tonight and made me look slow tonight and he did a brilliant job covering for Connor (Coles).”
STOKE 50: Jason Edwards 14, Tom Perry 11+1, Joe Lawlor 11, Joe Alcock 6+3, Luke Priest 6+1, Shelby Rutherford 2, Corban Pavitt 0.
PLYMOUTH 39: Anders Rowe 12+1, Adam Extance 10+1, Richard Andrews 7+1, Adam Sheppard 4+3, Ben Wilson 4, Jamie Bursill 2, David Wallinger r/r.