Tuesday 01 August, 2017
STOKE face a mountain to climb if they are to make the semi-finals of the National League KO Cup as they were beaten 57-33 by Mildenhall in the first leg of their KO Cup quarter final replay at West Row on Tuesday evening.

The A.R. Richards Potters started well and opened the meeting with a couple of 4-2 heat advantages firstly from Mitchell Davey and Paul Burnett over Connor Coles and then Ryan Terry-Daley and Shaun Tedham over Danno Verge to lead 8-4 after the opening two heats.

The Fen Tigers though got their claws into the meeting with a couple on 5-1 heat victories leave the Potters trailing after five heats. With the Potters still reeling Mountain and Jordan Jenkins continued to rub salt into the Potters wounds as they took maximum points in the next race over Terry-Daley and Dicken as the Potters struggled to stay in contention with the Tigers looking hungry to build a big lead early on.

The Potters managed to stem the tide as Priest was pipped on the line by Halsey who took the victory, but with Atkin following his partner home Stoke managed to draw heat seven as the Potters looked to find away back into the meeting.

The respite was short lived though as Jenkins and Verge combined to keep Paul Burnett as bay as the Tigers chalked up their fifth 5-1 in the last six races. A futher 4-2 saw the Tigers extend their lead as Ruddick got the better of Dicken with Armstrong unable to find away past the Potter and this was followed up with a 5-1 from Mountain and Jenkins as the meeting as a contest on the night.

Stoke gained a 4-2 from Davey and Burnett over Halsey and followed this up with a drawn heat in the next as Armstrong took the flag ahead of Terry-Daley and Atkin.

The Potters though continued to be put to the sword as they struggled to keep in touch with the Tigers leaving themselves with a 24-point deficit which they will need to claw back in the second leg at Loomer Road later this month.

Potters team manager Malcolm Vasey commented “We started well with a couple of 4-2 heat advantages early on but Mildenhall then hit back at us and got a few heats wins and we struggled to contain them. It does leave us with a lot to do in the second leg at Loomer Road but all is not lost, we are still in there with a chance, but it does now mean that we will need to be at our very best and put in a performance that shows we have the desire and hunger to go through to the semi-finals because that is what Mildenhall have done tonight. Mildenhall are a very good side especially around their home track and they proved that tonight, but so are we and we need everyone to put a shift in on the night and urge our supporters to get behind us when the second leg takes place at Loomer Road.”

MILDENHALL 57: Connor Mountain 14, Daniel Halsey 11+3, Jon Armstrong 9, Luke Ruddick 8+2, Danno Verge 8+2, Jordan Jenkins 7+2, Sam Woods 0
STOKE 33: Mitchell Davey 11, Ryan Terry-Daley 6, Luke Priest 6, Tony Atkin 3+2, Paul Burnett 3, Lee Dicken 2, Shaun Tedham 2