Sunday April 30, 2017
It wasn't the start everyone at Hi-Edge was expecting when the Hitmen entertained near neighbours the Stoke Potters on Sunday.

Their hopes took a downward turn with the non-arrival of new signing Ellis Perks who was sidelined with Flu. As Perks had not yet donned the Hitmen race jacket, Manager Jason Pipe was left with little option but to draft in number 8 and 3 pointer William O'Keefe. The home sides hopes were further hit by an injury to Lee Dicken who was ordered to rest for a week with concussion. ‘ For once gating wasn't a problem today, getting caught out with tricky conditions was!! a nice concussion, really sore knee n wrist ended my day early and stopped me riding at Kent, I will be back next week’ said Dicken.

Boss Pipe was frustrated at Perks' absence and revealed that number one Matt Williamson had been carrying an injury from a smash riding the night before.

‘It wasn't the way we would have liked to have started our 2017 season, but on the day of the meeting we were hit by the withdrawal of Heat Leader Ellis Perks, who had to pull out of riding in our meeting because he was full of flu and had been all week and told me it was getting worse. So to see him line up for his Premiership Club the next afternoon came as a surprise! Unfortunately for us, we were only allowed to cover Ellis with a 3.00 point unattached rider, because under the rules, Ellis hasn't yet turned a wheel for Buxton, so we were unable to have a Facility to cover for him.

Our Number 8 William O'Keefe, getting an earlier than expected ride with the Hitmen. I'd like to thank William O'Keefe and his Family for turning around from being on their way to Rye House and arriving at Buxton with only half an hour to spare to tapes up.

It was always going to be an uphill task without Perks and to make matters worse, we lost Lee Dicken to Concussion and a Painful Knee in his 3rd ride, after colliding with his team mate Tom Woolley. Dicken must not ride again for 7 days because of the Category 2 concussion. Tom also took a heavy tumble when Lee collided with him.

I'd also like to say a big thank you to our Number 1 Matt Williamson. Matt crashed heavily last Saturday at Workington in his last ride and he was very lucky to walk away from it. But he decided he'd still turn up today and ride through that pain barrier. People may look and think and say that Matt scored 14 and there was nothing wrong with him, but I can assure everyone that he was putting on a brave face. Matt shouldn't have been riding, but with us not having Perks, he knew we wouldn't get a facility for him neither and he did this to help us out. It also didn't help Matt that his shock absorber collapsed on him when in 2nd place in heat 1 and he came down on the 3rd bend, to then quickly remount and still finish 2nd in a 5 lap race!

Stoke throughly deserved their Victory, but at the end of the day, it stood out like a sore thumb in the end that we were a heat leader short on the day. Unfortunately for us, Stoke are now favourites to go through in the KOC, but we'll go to their place in the 2nd leg and make it a good meeting and you just never know what may happen in the 2nd Leg. Maybe we may get a lot of good luck on the night?! I just knew David Wallinger would return and put in a good score! I've always known what David is capable of, having rode for me in the past at Redcar and the reason why I brought him back in to the sport last season. Unfortunately, our loss is now Stoke's gain! I was very pleased with NL debutant Carl Basford. He had some steady smooth rides and was on the pace with the other riders and is just getting to know our track now. Give him time and we'll soon see what Carl can achieve in this league. Unfortunately, Carl also took a heavy tumble in one of his rides, but carried on.’

BUXTON 35: Matt Williamson 14, Tom Woolley 8, Lee Geary 6, Shelby Rutherford 3+1, Lee Dicken 3+1, William O'Keefe 1, Carl Basford 0.

STOKE 54: Tony Atkin 11+2, David Wallinger 11+1, Luke Priest 10, Ryan Terry-Daley 7+3, Shaun Tedham 7+1, Mitchell Davey 4+1, David Speight 4+1.