||Last Updated: Apr 15th, 2016 - 14:02:59
Coventry Cycle Speedway team, fresh from a winning start to their Elite League season, opened their 2016 regional Midland League campaign with an away loss to Wednesfield Dragons last Sunday afternoon, losing 97-80.
Exactly a week after defeating Ipswich at Hearsall Common in their opening Elite League fixture, Coventry couldn’t replicate those heroics – though handed first team experience to a handful of youth talent.
Teenagers Ben Wells, Jake Slatter, Daniel Drewett, Ollie Morris, Mason Phillips and Matt Hambidge all featured with Bobby McMillan and Myke Grimes adding some experience to the side.
The Coventry team management have taken the decision to run with youth in the Midland League this term, and although they will face some tough encounters, they hope their new policy will ultimately yield success.
The Dragons signalled their intent to Coventry in the opening heats, opening up a ten-point advantage after just six heats, with only Grimes and McMillan posting heat wins.
Their lead was extended to 14 points at the half way stage but, growing in confidence, the Coventry whizz kids started to mix it with their much older and more experienced Wednesfield counter-parts as the match progressed.
Wells, Morris and Hambidge, in particular, were in the thick of the action, whilst Phillips and Drewett both netted confidence boosting race victories. Slatter, short on fitness, improved as the match progressed.
A maximum success in heat 16 confirmed the two points for the home side – though Coventry took a consolation 4-3 race advantage in heat 18 as Bobby McMillan raced home.
Coventry team manager Lee Marsh said: “It was a tough ask for our youngsters but I thought they all performed well and deserve credit for that. They will develop at this level as the season progresses”.
Coventry point scorers: Myke Grimes 19, Bobby McMillan 17, Mason Phillips 11, Dan Drewett 11, Matt Hambidge 6, Ollie Morris 6, Jake Slatter 6 and Ben Wells 4.
BRANDON SLIP TO OPENING NIGHT DEFEAT
The Brandon Bees opened the 2016 season at their refurbished Brandon Road Playing Fields, Bretford, track last Tuesday evening, losing out 75-55 to a more experienced Leicester team in an entertaining Midland League challenge.
Brandon point scorers:
Matt Lawrence 14, Ben Wells 13, Matt Hambidge 10, Jack Reynolds 8, Wyatt Jacobs 6 and Joe Andrews 4.
The next home meeting at Brandon is in Sunday 1st May, at 2pm, when the club stage the Coventry Junior Spring Classic individual event.
COVENTRY CHASE FIRST EVER WIN AT POOLE
Coventry travel to south coast glamour club Poole tomorrow (Sunday 17th April) in their first Elite League away match of the season, chasing their first ever away win at the plush Dorset venue.
Coventry team (from): Dan Drewett, Mason Phillips, Adam Watson, Andy Angell, Myke Grimes, Jake Read, Chris Parish, Ben Higham, Michael Baldock and Michal Sassek.
Under-scoring the terrific interest in top flight Elite League racing, Coventry are taking two buses to Poole on Sunday. Riders, officials and fans will meet at Tesco, Ricoh Arena, car park at 8am for the long trip south.
CITY WHIZZ-KIDS SHINE AT BIRMINGHAM
In the first British Junior and Youth League event of the season at Birmingham last Saturday afternoon, Coventry piled up the points to finish in second place to Wednesfield and recorded two age category winners.
Jack Reynolds, grandson of former Whitley stalwart John, brilliantly won the under 12s final, remaining unbeaten all afternoon by any opponent. The super keen youngster will take his lead in the competition to the second round at East Park (Wolverhampton) next Saturday.
Jimmy Wassall was also in outstanding form in winning the under 14s final, just fending off the strong challenge of teammate Ben Wells as Coventry dominated the under 14s final major positions.
There were strong performances elsewhere for Coventry as their strong youth policy begins to show dividends. Autumn Smith reached her first final – in her very first match. Another new recruit – Jacob Slezak – won his first ever race.
Brothers Liam and Alex Jones both performed well, whilst Wyatt Jacobs again confirmed his immense promise. Sammi Marsh took silver in the girls classification, whilst brother Josh, returning after illness, won the under 17s `B` final.
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