Saturday 06 May, 2017
STOKE A.R. Richards Potters gained a very hard fought 46-44 victory over double league Champions Birmingham in the Travel Plus National League at Loomer Road on Saturday night.

The victory gives the Potters their first league points of the season as they lowered the Brummies’ colours for the first time in the league this season.

In a tight and tense meeting throughout both sides dropped points but it was the Potters that struck first with an opening heat 4-2 from Mitchell Davey and Shaun Tedham over Tom Bacon and Birmingham debutant Kyle Roberts. The Brummies’ struck back to level the scores two heats later as Birmingham skipper Darryl Ritchings and Bacon combined for a 4-2 over Tony Atkin.

Stoke again edged in front as Davey took victory over Jack Parkinson-Blackburn with Tedham holding third for a 4-2, but the Brummies’ struck back in an eventful heat seven which saw Ritchings take the chequered flag while carnage was going on behind him as David Speight fell and then remounted followed by partner Luke Priest who also fell and remounted before Layne Cupitt fell allowing Priest to take second place, Cupitt remounting before Speight could pass him to level the scores at 21-21.

The Potters edged back in front with a maximum 5-1 advantage from David Wallinger and Tedham over Cupitt, but the league champions were not finished and edged back to take the lead with three successive 4-2 heat advantages to leave them with a two-point lead with three heats left as the Potters trailed 35-37.

Parkinson-Blackburn took the chequered flag in heat thirteen after Bacon had been excluded for falling while attempting to go around Davey who took second with Priest third for a drawn heat, but the Potters edged in front as Atkin and Wallinger flew from the gate and held off Cupitt and Ritchings for a maximum 5-1 heat advantage leaving the Potters in front 43-41 going into the final race.

Parkinson-Blackburn who was beaten just once on the night rattled off firth victory in heat fifteen bur Davey and Potters skipper Atkin settled in behind him for the minor placings to gain a drawn heat and a 46-44 victory on the night for the Potters.

Potters captain Tony Atkin said “What can you say about a result like that tonight, that was as good as it gets really. I thought we had lost it and myself personally I got my act together in my last two rides after making a few changes as I could not get my set up right and I was pleased with myself in my last two rides as it felt like the old Tony Atkin. I’m so pleased for the team as we threw it away against Belle Vue a few weeks back and to be honest we stole it tonight as I thought we’d lost it. We have a great team here who are all fighters and we have a hell of a lot of spirit and we are all really pleased with that result tonight.”

Potters boss Malcolm Vasey commented “We don’t often beat Birmingham and not many teams do, but the team that many people feel would not do very well this season with many pundits placing us bottom of the table but I think we have shown in our matches against Belle Vue and tonight against Birmingham two of the more fancied teams in the league and we could have beaten both but have done so against Birmingham and a very good win away at Buxton last Sunday. Everything is currently going well here at Stoke and the team spirit is magnificent. I put David Wallinger in heat fourteen as I felt he was the right man for the job and so it proved as we gained a 5-1. Tony (Atkin) and Mitchell (Davey) were superb in the final race they did not go after Jack Parkinson-Blackburn who had been on fire all night for Birmingham and they made sure that Tom Bacon remained at the back which got us the result that we required and they managed the race perfectly. I asked Mitchell if he knew that Tony was behind him and he said yes boss I was looking for him throughout the race to make sure we gained the points needed.

STOKE 46: Mitchell Davey 12, Tony Atkin 9+2, David Wallinger 8+2, Luke Priest 7+1, Ryan Terry-Daley 5+1, Shaun Tedham 4+1, David Speight 1+1.
BIRMINGHAM 44: Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 17, Darryl Ritchings 10, Tom Bacon 9, Layne Cupitt 8, Kyle Roberts 0, Macauley Leek 0, Danyon Hume r/r.