Friday September 08, 2017
CRADLEY boss Will Pottinger applauded both sets of riders for their efforts despite his side suffering a heavy 59-31 loss in their Knockout Cup first leg tie at Belle Vue.

It was a difficult night for both teams in Manchester as a torrential downpour on parade put the meeting in doubt.

But an agreement was made to delay the start time by 30 minutes – before the rain poured again during the opening two races.

The hosts adapted to conditions much better though, as Cradley were able to register just one heat advantage all meeting.

The Motor Market Heathens now face a mammoth task in the second leg of their Quarter-Final clash, when they host the Colts at Perry Barr on September 27.

Said Pottinger: “Regardless of the result, both sets of riders should be commended for getting the meeting started, yet alone completing all 15 races because conditions were far from ideal.

“With the rain that came down, on top of the amount that they’d already had, it would have been very easy for the riders to cause a bit of a fuss, cancel the meeting and walk away.

“But there weren’t any grumbles as such, everyone had exactly the right attitude and were determined to crack on with the meeting as soon as they could.

“Belle Vue are a very strong team this year and they’re not top of the National League with an unbeaten home record because of a fluke.

“They got to grips with the conditions much quicker than we were able to unfortunately and it was a tough night for us.

“Being without Danny (Ayres) and Tom (Perry) due to Championship commitments and injury respectively was always going to make our task even more difficult.

“But then to lose Conor (Dwyer) on the day of the meeting through illness was another big blow for us with the sort of form he’s been able to demonstrate of late.

“But we thank Liam (Carr), Paul (Bowen) and Joe (Alcock) for their efforts as guest replacements.

“We can’t dwell on this too much though. We have a league match at Mildenhall on Sunday and while we’re patched-up again, we need to go there and try and get something out of the meeting.”

A full preview ahead of Sunday’s trip to Mildenhall will be issued on Saturday afternoon.

BELLE VUE 59: Kyle Bickley 13+2, Jack Smith 13+1, Rob Shuttleworth 10+1, Ben Hopwood 9+2, Luke Woodhull 7+2, Andy Mellish 7+1, Lee Payne R/R

CRADLEY 31: Liam Carr 12, Richard Hall 8, Luke Harris 6, Joe Lawlor 3, Joe Alcock 1, Paul Bowen 1, Tom Perry R/R.

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